Surgery Might Help Some Heart Patients

Bypass surgery may boost heart failure survival rate, study found

(RxWiki News) Heart failure patients with clogged arteries had a better chance of surviving 10 years if they had bypass surgery and took medications, as opposed to just taking medications, a new study found.

Unless it's absolutely necessary, many patients choose to avoid surgery. But this new, long-term study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, found that a larger number of patients with coronary artery disease may benefit from bypass surgery than previously thought.

Study results after five years of research, published in 2011, raised questions about the benefits of bypass versus medicine alone, but researchers said the longer 10-year study clearly favors the surgery.

This study, which involved 1,200 heart failure patients from 22 countries, including the United States, found that patients with reduced heart function and clogged arteries had a better chance of surviving 10 years if they received a combination of bypass surgery and medication.

The results showed that 59 percent of the bypass patients died from any cause — compared to 66 percent of those who received medication only.

Forty-one percent of the patients in the bypass group died from heart disease — compared to 49 percent of those enrolled in the medicine-only group.

An editorial about the current study said the latest results "solidly support" strengthening treatment guidelines to say that coronary artery bypass surgery is "probably beneficial" for these patients.

The study and editorial were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.