Study finds lifestyle changes work well for patients with heart disease

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The findings of a new study released at an American Heart Association conference show doctors are overusing stents and bypass surgery to treat patients with heart disease.

Researchers found that medications and other lifestyle changes work just as well in some patients.

But the chairman of cardiology at St. Francis Hospital, Dr. Richard Shlofmitz, says that study primarily focused on patients who were stable and the decisions need to be made on a case-by-case basis.

Craig Porter, 48, of Hicksville, was already on medication for high cholesterol. His father had a heart attack at age 54 and had stents put in and bypass surgery 20 years later. He says he decided to do some tests because he was short of breath when he would exercise. Testing revealed a 60% blockage in one of his arteries.

Doctors at St. Francis, where Porter works as a registered nurse, put in a stent. He says he's now back to working out the way he wants to.

Shlofmitz says all studies are important because they get people talking and encourage patients to better educate themselves and be proactive with their care.

Experts say about 500,000 heart stent procedures are performed each year in the United States.

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