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Introduction: more than coronary artery disease

      Interventional cardiology is symptomatic treatment. The late Dr. Lewis Thomas referred to this approach as “half-way technology,” meaning that basic mechanisms of disease were not identified or treated. The bypass operation has significant mortality and morbidity, including further heart damage, stroke, and brain dysfunction. The benefits are at best temporary, since most grafts eventually close, and the patient faces further intervention or a life of progressive disability and death from the disease. Angioplasty has a 40% failure rate after 6 months,
      • Bittl J.A.
      Advances in coronary angioplasty.
      as well as significant mortality and morbidity and, frequently, further heart damage.
      • Kong T.Q.
      • Davidson C.J.
      • Meyers S.N.
      • Tauke J.T.
      • Parker M.A.
      • Bonow R.O.
      Prognostic implication of creatinine kinase elevation following elective coronary artery interventions.
      Variations to prevent restenosis include stenting with a wire cage, radiation to the balloon-fractured artery to compromise the inflammatory response, or use of a $1,400-per-dose drug to decrease the likelihood of thrombosis.
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