But does the new standard-treatment protocol actually benefit the patient? According to a new study, it appears not, as patients fare just as well with a milder regime that only includes drugs.
A group of 1200 heart patients in Holland were subjected to either the new programme of aggressive therapy or just drugs. After a year, 23 per cent of the group treated aggressively and 21 per cent of those given conservative treatment had either died or suffered a complication. Overall mortality was the same in both groups.
In fact, early revascularisation caused more heart attacks than just leaving them well alone (N Engl J Med, 2005; 353: 1095-104).