Procedures not pills for the treatment of heart disease


Watch the pendulum swing. Procedures not pills for the treatment of heart disease

If you were told you had heart disease, would you prefer to take daily medication for the rest of your life, or undergo a procedure that could treat the disease?

That question is being discussed more frequently in cardiologists’ offices these days.

For the past several decades, conditions that can lead to heart disease – high blood pressure, high cholesterol, blood clotting disorders – have largely been managed by pills. The goal of taking these medications was to avoid surgery. But now, due to more and better procedural options, the pendulum may be swinging the other way. Today, both pills and procedures may be used to fight the complications of heart disease.

Heart procedures are becoming more targeted and refined to result in less pain and reduced time spent in the hospital. People are starting to weigh that against medication side effects especially in the context of so many pills being prescribed. One such advance is a left atrial occlusion device. This is an implant that can block communication into the space where stroke clots commonly originate, as opposed to taking blood thinners every day.

Nikhil Iyengar, MD, a cardiologist with HonorHealth Heart Group and HonorHealth Heart and Vascular Institute, says, "We used to use pills because the old procedures were barbaric. Now people are indicating their preference is to get away from taking chronic medications for upwards of forty years. There’s no right or wrong choice here; it’s simply an evolution that we’re seeing in medicine today."