May 3 (UPI) -- People with multiple blocked arteries of the heart have a better chance for survival if they receive coronary grafting surgery, rather than stents, new findings show.
The rate of death for people who underwent coronary artery grafting surgery, known as open heart surgery, was 7.2. percent versus 11.5 for people treated with percutaneous coronary intervention, according to a study published Wednesday in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.
Percutaneous coronary intervention is commonly known as angioplasty, which includes opening up a blocked artery and placement of stent to prevent it from collapsing.
"Our data demonstrate a significant mortality benefit with coronary artery grafting surgery over percutaneous coronary intervention," said Suresh R. Mulukutla, a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and study lead author, in a news release.
"This benefit is consistent across virtually all major patients groups, suggesting that coronary artery grafting surgery should be considered in broader patient populations, not just in cases of patients with diabetes and left ventricular dysfunction, which is what is commonly practiced," Mulukutla said.
For angioplasty, a patient has a catheter inserted into an arm or groin that reaches an artery. A balloon at the end of the catheter inflates to expand the artery and open up the blockage.
Open heart surgery, on the other hand, is a procedure that creates a bypass around coronary blockages to open up a new pathway for blood to the heart.
The researchers analyzed data for patients with multivessel coronary artery disease from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons National Database and the American College of Cardiology Foundation National Cardiovascular Data Registry.
They found patients who received angioplasty also had lower hospital readmission and revascularization rates than those who received stents.
Now, the researchers says doctors need to do a better job talking to patients about which procedure works best for their health situation.
"We are working to better facilitate a heart team approach and overcome some of the limitations given the current infrastructure of how these decisions are made," Mulukutla said. "We also are continuing to identify specific patient populations that may benefit from either coronary artery grafting surgery or percutaneous coronary intervention, so that we can best advocate for our patients."