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Should You Choose a Drug-Eluting Stent Over Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting

What Does The Research Say?

There have been a number of studies done on PCI versus CABG. The bulk of these studies indicate that there is a time and place for PCIs and a time and a place for CABGs. In short, the research has shown that CABG should remain the standard option for people who have complex coronary problems, while PCI would be an acceptable alternative for those who had less complex problems. 
A long-term comparison of DESs and CABG that took place over a five-year period showed similar results. The conclusion of this study showed that DES is associated with similar long-term (5-year) rates of death as compared with CABG. However, rates of repeat revascularization were significantly higher in those who used DESs. 
Again, more research is needed to have enough evidence to prove whether DES would be safer and/or more effective than CABG in the long run.

Concluding Thoughts

Although DESs were originally labeled as a "miracle" stent and even had people refusing CABG procedures, a stent may not be the best option for your particular case. Although DES procedures are less invasive and have a quicker recovery period, you may find that you need another procedure if the artery narrows again. 
While both DES and CABG are effective ways to treat a blocked coronary artery, it does not appear that DESs will completely replace CABG in the foreseeable future. More long-term research is needed before that would happen. However, as DESs and CABG procedures continue to advance, surgeons and cardiologists will be able to use improved techniques to optimize treatment for each individual person based on his or her particular situation.
If you are considering CABG or DES on an elective basis, make sure to discuss the benefits and risks of each procedure with your doctor before making your decision.
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