Elderly patients with heart disease are twice as likely to have a better quality of life after an operation than with medication, research suggests. Researchers in a Swiss study looked at patients with an average age of 80 who suffered from chronic angina.
Doctors either gave them medication, or referred them for an angioplasty - a treatment where a fine tube with a small inflatable balloon attached is inserted and the balloon inflated to widen the artery.Results indicated that those who were put on medication were twice as likely to have a major adverse cardiac event - death, non-fatal heart attack or hospital admission for worsening angina.
A total of 305 patients with chronic angina were selected for the study.They were randomly assigned to be given either medication or revascularisation. Revascularisation involves doctors carrying out an angioplasty followed by stenting - inserting steel mesh to keep an artery open, or coronary artery bypass graft surgery to improve blood flow through arteries.
The patients were assessed after six months. In both groups, patients said both the severity of their angina symptoms, and their quality of life had improved. But far greater improvements were seen in the group who had undergone revascularisation.