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  • For the doctor, every patient brings a unique case and is treated different from the other. In some cases a doctor rules out angioplasty and recommends an open heart surgery while the opposite may happen other cases. A patient needs to ask his/her doctor the reason behind his decision to opt for one treatment over the other. A patient should keep in mind the following factors that contribute to the doctor's final decision on the treatment-
    A) How bad is the heart problem, emergency nature of condition.
    B) Are other diseases like diabetes making the patient's case worse? The patient needs to make sure that his doctor knows the complete medical history.
  • During a Heart Bypass Surgery, the blockage is bypassed using an alternate channel of blood supply- a graft; while in an angioplasty, the clogged arteries are widened with the help of stents.
    Each patient is different and the chosen course of treatment would depend on the following factors:
    • Extent of blockage
    • Type of Blockage
    • Diabetes
    • Size of blockage
    • Prevalence of other diseases like COPD, Stroke, functional status, mental state, compliance etc.
    • Age
  • While all stents essentially provide the same purpose to unblock a narrow artery, there is still a choice to make – drug-eluting stent or bare-metal stent. A patient should check with his doctor on the kind of stent available for his treatment. Different stent come with different medications.

    For instance, with bare-metal stents, patients are usually required to take a combination of clot-preventing drug and asprin. This is taken for a period of 4 to 6 weeks after getting the stent. On the other hand, drug eluting stents are needed to be taken by the patient for at least 12 months. The upside of getting drug-eluting stent is the reduction in the risk of re-narrowing by up to 20% while in the case of bare-metal stents, the reduction of risk is only up to 8%. With newer generation stents, the stent thrombosis rate is <1% per year.