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Posts Tagged ‘emprical medicine’

critical decision making cardiology cath lab tricks coronary  angiogram primary angioplasty ptca vs cabg acc aha guidelines esc guidelines

Answer

While our brain perceives  whatever option  we  choose is the best for the patient  , in reality it is rarely true !

The only comment I wish to make,  there is nothing called standard guidelines for complex and unusual problems .We need not be obsessed with protocols  !

Please remember , If you apply standard guidelines  in  non-standard situations  9/10 times we  are going to err !

So my  choice  would be, to  go with your gut feeling , of course  your gut should  be alive ,  up to date and periodically maintained !

If you don’t have the guts  . . . don’t worry  you have plenty of other options !

 

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In one of my  meetings , I told a small gathering  , that regular exercise can shrink atherosclerotic plaques and regress CAD. I also quoted , a recent  large  study which  has proven this fact convincingly !

I concluded, simple  exercise  and other life style changes,risk factor correction  may convert a 90% lesion to 70 or even 50 % . I stressed the importance of this study and asked my colleagues to avoid misuse of  Angioplasties .

When many  seemed to agree with me , one  angry  Interventional cardiologist questioned me, and  asked  the name of the  study, and in which journal  it came , What was quality of the paper ?

evidence based medicine ebm experince

I told him , It is an Imaginary study done  in my back yard . It never got published in print. You may call it as E-journal* , not exactly though.It is not available in any websites , but located in the  biological servers, and  neuronal circuits as digital imprints in learned brains !

*Journal of experience

You may call it , a scientific  forgery , to quote a non-existent study,

But this study  benefits whole lot of my  patients”.

He was amused , and became agitated !

He told over the mike , “You are making  foolish statement. . . don’t corrupt young minds” !

May be , he is true !

I asked him to be calm and  requested  to listen to another study which I was about  to quote  . . .

He couldn’t sit any more  and rushed  out of the hall !

Final message

We  are ready to believe all those  rubbish stories about a fourth  generation   self disappearing BVS that is  able to scaffold a coronary artery and maintain a MLD by 2.5mm  and TVR by 20 % and prevent near MAZE  at 30 days  by 9 % and improve long term survival  by 6 months at  the cost of 100, 000 Rs  per month  .Only to realise, it may be a farce  . . .  5 years down the lane !

How to cleanse the darkened face of science ?

When falsehoods come with evidence and harm people , Good deeds can  be preached without evidence to save our fellow human beings !

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For  all those youngsters , who are into the mystery world of medical research  , please begin your journey with this great book.  The greatness lies in it’s  simplicity in expression & search of truth !

Download this 1 MB  marvel  ,  free from  http://www.jameslindlibrary.com  in less than a minute

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Is it a crime to do a plain balloon angioplasty in 2008 ?

Plain balloon angioplasty,   the greatest  innovation in   cardiology  when it was introduced in 1977 in a Zurich cath lab , has now become an  ugly  word for most of the cardiologist !

Why this turn around ?  Has technology ,  really overtaken a great procedure and made it obsolete now ?

The answer is a definite ” No”

The restenosis which was the villian in the plain old angioplasty has never been overcome even today. Stents initally used as a bail out procedure during  abrupt closure , later it was used conditionally, followed by provisional stenting and now in 2008  we are made to believe  it is mandatory.

When we realised , bare metal stents are equally  bad (If not slightly better ) in arresting the restenosis drug eluting stents came into vogue with a big bang in 2002. It was projected as the ultimate breakthrough in interventional cardiology and  in 5 years the truth was exposed and it not only failed to prevent the restenois but also had a dreaded complication of acute stent thrombosis.

Now we know , metals  inside a coronary artery  carry  a life long  risk of sudden occulusion , and we talk about biodegradable stents (With poly lactic acid ).

 Common sense ( Unscientific truths)  would suggest

Plain balloon angioplasty still has a major role in our global  cardiovascualr population.

Since restenosis is the  only issue here, ( about 30% )  we can choose patients in whom even if restenosis is likely to happen  no major harm is done . A vast majority of chronic stable angina patients  fall in this category.

Aggressive lipid lowering with plain  balloon angioplasty has never been tested properly . In future also it is unlikely,  such trials will be done as it would be considered unethical . But that would be a premature conclusion.

The other major issue is the cost of stenting , the procedure of PCI/PTCA  has become unaffordable for most of the population in developing countries .The primary reason being the PCI without stenting is considered  ” A untouchable” . If only we remove this stigma from the cardiology community   a signiificant population will be benefited.

A patient with chronic stable angina treated with POBA ,if develop further angina after few years , he  is likely to get a recurrence of  relatively safe  stable angina.  While in a post PCI patient  any angina after the procedure becomes a unstable angina ( Braunwald classification)  and requires emergency care . Angina in a  stented patient is can not be taken lightly as  the the course of angina is unpredictable .

POBA in primary PCI ?

Many may think it is a foolish idea . It has been found many times,  when we rush the pateint to   cath lab after a STEMI  we are in for a surprise !. About 30% of times it is a very complex lesion profile  like diffuse disese,  tight bifurcation lesions , loaded with thrombus or a left main disese.

We fail to realise a basic  fact  , the  initial aim of primary PCI is to salvage the myocardium ,and the next comes the prevention of restenosis . It may even , be argued salvaging  myocardium is the only aim ! Myocardial salvage sould be done urgently . And even  removing the thrombus and opening a IRA can be suffice in a patient who is crashing on table.  Of course stenting can be done whenever possible. But for IRAs which has complex anatomy attempting a perfect stent PCI   (Some may require more than few stents)  as an emergency procedure invariably affects the outcome. One should spend  shortest possible time  inside the  illfated coronary artery. Prolonged manipulations within the coronary artery in an unstable patient  aiming at  longterm patency of an IRA  is to be avoided .The pending procedures can always planned in a next stage. 

Final message

So it is not a crime to think about plain balloon  angioplasty  in some of  our  patients  with acute or chronic coronary syndromes .  Hope Gruentzig  is listening from the heaven and hopefully agree with me !

Dr.S.Venkatesan, madras medical college, chennai, India .

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Peer review of an article even in major journals never scrutinise the “Aim of  a study ” . However big is the journal,  they seem to bother only about the authors, materials, methods, and statistical analysis.  If only they peer review an article , right from the “Aim of the study” like ,

  • Who asks the research questions?
  • Who  defines the aim of the study ?
  • Who decides which drug to be compared with which drug ?
  • Who steers the steering commitee of a trial ?

If only , we could answer these questions without bias , pharma industry and their  regulators  would have ,  far more better image than what they have now !

A typical example for , the aim of the study  to be  wrong  , is  the “ONTARGET’ study on telmisartan.

Here they ( Who ? ) raised an inappropriate  question of     “Non inferiority” of one drug with other  without any  valid reason to compare these two drugs that will benefit the man kind !

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