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London: Tens of thousands of NHS patients are having operations to clear their arteries in the false belief that it will cut their chance of a heart attack or even extend their life, a leading expert has warned. Doctors are failing to tell patients that angioplasty is not a magic bullet to stop heart attacks, said consultant cardiologist Aseem Malhotra.
Each year some 30,000 people with a condition called stable angina opt to have the procedure, in which a tiny balloon is inserted into clogged arteries to help clear them. A metal ring called a stent is then put in to keep the artery wide.
The theory is that widening the artery will improve blood flow and reduce the odds of a blockage. But Dr Malhotra said such patients were rarely told that the invasive procedure made no difference to their chance of having a heart attack, nor did it improve their odds of long life. He said: “Patients often have this treatment believing it will save them from a heart attack or prolong their life. But there is no convincing scientific evidence that this is true.
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