It is often said life is a cycle , time machine rolls without rest and reach the same point again and again . This is applicable for the knowledge cycle as well .
We live a life , which is infact a “fraction of a time”(<100years) when we consider the evolution of life in our planet for over 4 million years.
Man has survived and succumbed to various natural and self inflicted diseases & disasters. Currently, in this brief phase of life , CAD is the major epidemic , that confronts modern man.It determines the ultimate life expectancy . The fact that , CAD is a new age disease and it was not this rampant , in our ancestors is well known .The disease has evolved with man’s pursuit for knowledge and wealth.
A simple example of how the management of CAD over 50 years will help assess the importance of “Time in medical therapeutics”
- 1960s: Life style modification and Medical therapy is the standard of care in all stable chronic CAD The fact is medical and lifestyle management remained the only choice in this period as other options were not available. (Absence of choice was a blessing as we subsequently realised ! read further )
- The medical world started looking for options to manage CAD.
- 1970s : CABG was a major innovation for limiting angina .
- 1980s: Plain balloon angioplasty a revolution in the management of CAD.
- 1990s: Stent scaffolding of the coronaries was a great add on .Stent was too dangerous for routine use was to be used only in bail out situations
- Mid 1990s : Stents reduced restenosis. Stents are the greatest revolution for CAD management.Avoiding stent in a PCI is unethical , stents should be liberally used. Every PCI should be followed by stent.
- Stents have potential complication so a good luminal dilatation with stent like result (SLR) was preferred so that we can avoid stent related complications.
- 2000s: Simple bare metal stents are not enough .It also has significant restenosis.
- 2002: BMS are too notorius for restenosis and may be dangerous to use
- 2004 : Drug eluting stents are god’s gift to mankind.It eliminates restenosis by 100% .
- 2006: Drug eluting stents not only eliminates restenosis it eliminates many patients suddenly by subacute stent thrombosis
- 2007 : The drug is not the culprit in DES it is the non bio erodable polymer that causes stent thrombosis. Polymer free DES or biodegradable stent , for temporary scaffolding of the coronary artery (Poly lactic acid ) are likely to be the standard of care .
- All stents are potentially dangerous for the simple reason any metal within the coronary artery has a potential for acute occlusion.In chronic CAD it is not at all necessary to open the occluded coronary arteries , unless CAD is severely symptomatic in spite of best medical therapy.
- 2007: Medical management is superior to PCI in most of the situations in chronic CAD .(COURAGE study ) .Avoid PCI whenever possible.
- 2009 :The fundamental principle of CAD management remain unaltered. Life style modification, regular exercise , risk factor reduction, optimal doses of anti anginal drug, statins and aspirin is the time tested recipe for effective management of CAD .
So the CAD therapeutic journey found it’s true destination , where it started in 1960s.
Every new option of therapy must be tested against every past option .There are other reverse cycles in cardiology that includes the role of diuretics in SHT , beta blockers in CHF etc. It is ironical , we are in the era of rediscovering common sense with sophisticated research methodology .What our ancestors know centuries ago , is perceived to be great scientific breakthroughs . It takes a pan continental , triple blinded randomised trial to prove physical activity is good for the heart .(INTERHEART , MONICA studies etc) .
Medical profession is bound to experience hard times in the decades to come , unless we look back in time and “constantly scrutinize” the so called scientific breakthroughs and look for genuine treasures for a great future !
Common sense protects more humans than modern science and it comes free of cost too . . .