Patients who have a coronary bypass will probably enjoy a better quality of life afterwards compared to those who have angioplasty provided they survive the trauma of surgery.
Although angioplasty patients were able to return to work sooner, bypass patients could perform more of the common activities of daily living, such as light housework and walking.
Investigators with the Bypass Angioplasty Revascularization Investigation (BARI) studied 465 angioplasty patients and 469 who had a bypass for a five year period.
Both procedures added an average of 4.4 years to the lives of patients, but angina levels in the angioplasty group were 26 per cent, compared to 11 per cent in the bypass patients. Nearly 60 per cent of the angioplasty group had to have further treatment because the arteries started to clog up again (N Eng J Med, 1997; 336: 92-9).
For more information, see the WDDTY Guide to the Heart, and WDDTY vol 4, no 2.