Thursday, September 22, 2011

Expensive, risky surgery for periphery artery disease pushed by doctors who ignore better alternatives

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a slow and progressive circulation disorder most often affecting arteries in the legs. Atherosclerosis, the same plaques of fat, calcium and other related gunk that clogs up arteries and cause heart attacks usually cause it.

If you have PAD of the legs, you know it can be a miserable condition, causing pain and numbness. You might think the study just announced at the 2011 American Roentgen Ray Society's annual meeting of radiologists, currently underway in Chicago, is reason to rejoice.

After all, the researchers found that a large growth in screening for PAD has resulted in many more surgical procedures, especially angioplasty (which pushes open the plaques using catheters carrying tiny balloons and is often used in conjunction with stents to keep the arteries propped open) to treat the condition. So if PAD is being diagnosed and treated, that must mean progress in treating the disease is being made, right?

That's the first impression you might get from a quick look at the new study. But here's a breaking research story that shows the importance of looking - really looking - at all the facts and not relying on mainstream media's shallow coverage or someone simply rewriting a press release. Read more...

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