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"Bypass surgery safer than angioplasty for some: study"


Source: CBC.CA

Published: 24 Mar 2022

Category: Other

Rating: (3½ stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Heart bypass surgery may be less deadly than angioplasty for some seniors and those with diabetes, a review suggests.

For most people, there was not much difference between the two.

But among people aged 65 to 75 and those patients with diabetes, bypass surgery resulted in lower mortality over the average followup period of 5.9 years, researchers reported in this week's issue of the Lancet medical journal...

The original article can be found at:

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 6 of 9
Availability of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Applicable
Evidence Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of harms of treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

The most significant downfall of this article was its failure to adequately quantify the benefits and harms the treatment under study- bypass surgery.

The mortality reduction numbers used to describe the benefits of the bypass treatment for patients above 65 years of age and for patients with diabetes were consistently presented using relative risk reduction values. For example, the articles states that, "patients with diabetes were 30 per cent less likely to die if given bypass surgery than if given angioplasty." This reduced mortality number is relative and does not indicate the baseline mortality risk of patients undergoing angioplasty. If the initial mortality risk during an angioplasty is very small, a 30% reduction of that risk (using bypass surgery) may or may not be substantial evidence to warrant this alternative procedure.

While the article did do a good job emphasizing that the benefit of bypass (over angioplasty) was only relevant in a small subgroup of patients (i.e. some seniors and those with diabetes), the lack of discussion around potential harms associated with these procedures resulted in a seemingly unbalanced presentation of these serious medical treatments/procedures.

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