This is an unbalanced story on the supposed benefits of the use of a stent to repair an aortic aneurysm. The risk of an untreated aneurysm which the reader is told “can burst, causing severe back pain and often death within minutes” is not contrasted with the risks of having had an aneurysm treated. There was no mention of the potential harms of using a stent. There was also no mention of costs. The only framework for the story is provided by a single source â€“ a local surgeon who performs the procedure. The story needed at least one other independent source. The patient who was profiled is said to be an individual in his 80s and in poor health. The evidence to support the statement that the procedure “saved his life” is unclear. It is also worth noting that most aortic aneurysms are abdominal and screening for them is not only considered ineffective, but the best therapy is unclear.
No mention of costs; article explained that no routine scans are typically done for
the underlying anomaly because Medicare won’t cover chest X-rays for this purpose.
Estimate of death rate from the procedure is presumably for death immediately
following the procedure. No data on the benefit from the treatment (symptom relief, longevity improvement, quality of life
or quality of death)
No mention of harms from the procedure.
Where does the mortality data on the
use of the stent come from?
How many people have these aneurysms?
Is there a range of severity? No discussion of the natural history of these problems.
The only source is a surgeon who does
this procedure; no other independent opinion is included.
Mentions open heart surgery
to fix an aneurysm with a 30-50% mortality rate. Data presented for this procedure, thoracic endoprosthesis, is 1-5% death
rate. However this difference may be explained by a difference in patient populations.
Mentions new device approval by the FDA for use to fix “a bulging artery near the heart”.
Mentions that this device is
similar to that of a heart stent placed in the aorta to repair an aneurysm (i.e. not innovative, but a new ‘model’ and