Stent study and Saw palmetto use

September 27, 2011 2:56:29 PM PDT
A warning is out for some people with heart disease who may relay on a device to keep open their heart arteries.

A million stent procedures are performed on heart patients each year, even though a large study four years ago questioned their effectiveness.

This study, however, says the experience by the doctor who places the stent is crucial.

The stent is a tiny mesh scaffolding placed inside a heart artery.

Their purpose? To relieve the chest pain that results from a narrowed artery and reduce likelihood of stroke.

The study examined 25-thousand stent procedures in elderly patents.

The finding: Patients who had procedures by doctors who did less than 6 cases per year had an increased risk of death during the 30 days following the procedure.

They compared them to doctors who had done 24 procedures or more a year.

Selecting the right patients who will benefit and doctor expertise are both issues in a successful procedure, according to the study.

Saw palmetto

Another medical study addresses a common issue for older men - Urinary problems as a result of an overgrown prostate.

For years, many men have been turning to saw palmetto, an herb reputed to be helpful.

Doctors studied hundreds of men using saw palmetto. Half of them, however, were given a placebo, a dummy pill.

After 18 months and increasing doses, doctors found no difference between the real drug and the stand in fake placebo.

The researchers say patients would be best served by not wasting their money on herbs that are not proven to work.

Both of these studies are being published for doctors to read in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association.

So, choose an experienced doctor for any heart procedure and forget the saw palmetto, if you use it.