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Spokane doctor says stentsshouldn’t always be ruled out

A Spokane doctor who performs 200 angioplasties a year urged patients Monday to read beyond headlines about a new study casting doubt on the procedure.

“The public is going to hear that stents are bad,” said Dr. Michael Ring, medical director cardiac services at Sacred Heart Medical Center.

“That’s really something you decide with your doctor.”

Like most cardiologists across the country, Ring had only heard summaries of the report, which was released prematurely at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology.

“This isn’t supposed to be the way that scientific studies are … presented,” he said.

Ring said that he’d need to review the study but that, on the surface, he had no argument with it.

“I would say for some patients, medicine would be as good as stents,” Ring said.

“Especially if you include the word ‘some.’ ”

Ring estimated that nearly 3,000 angioplasties are performed in the Spokane area each year.

In 2003, Washington posted a state average of 7.92 procedures per 1,000 people enrolled in Medicare, according to the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care.

That was much lower than the national average of 11.27 per 1,000 people that year.

In Spokane, the average was even lower than the state’s, at 7.53 per 1,000.

Ring said that he and other cardiologists would consider new information about their practice.

“I’m sure there’s some stuff I would have done that in retrospect could have been done with conventional therapy,” he said.



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