New Survey Shows Heart Patients’ Quality of Life Significantly Improved After Angioplasty Procedure

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Living Life to Your Heart’s Content: Patients Speak, a survey released today by the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI), found angioplasty patients reported dramatic improvement in quality of life in every category as measured by 10 tenets. Patients returned to work nearly three times faster than heart surgery patients, described a nearly two-fold reduction in the symptoms of shortness of breath or chest discomfort and reported significant improvements in basic physical activity. Underscoring the research findings is a new paper also released today by SCAI providing a comprehensive review of research on quality of life following angioplasty and stenting.

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Living Life to Your Heart’s Content: Patients Speak survey found dramatic improvements in quality of life for heart disease patients following angioplasty.

Today, the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) announced results from a new survey that found four out of five (81 percent) patients say their lives have changed for the better following angioplasty, a procedure to open blocked arteries and allow blood to circulate freely. Simultaneously, SCAI published a comprehensive review of research on quality of life following angioplasty and stenting. The paper offers recommendations to guide healthcare providers in choosing the best cardiovascular treatment to benefit patients and enhance their quality of life. The consensus paper appears in Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions (CCI).

Heart disease patients’ quality of life is frequently limited by their symptoms, which may include chest pain, shortness of breath and fatigue. The survey and paper are part of an effort by SCAI to assess how quality of life is affected by heart disease symptoms and treatment. The online survey, “Living Life to Your Heart’s Content: Patients Speak,” included more than 460 adult heart disease patients in the United States and found those who underwent angioplasty experienced dramatic improvement in quality of life in every one of 10 categories including their ability to perform basic physical activity, opportunities for socializing, sex life, ability to do chores and run errands, participate in hobbies, feel financially secure and improve relationships with spouses/significant others, family and friends.

The survey also found:

  •     Angioplasty patients were able to return to work nearly three times faster than heart surgery patients: This is important to consider as the average retirement age in the United States is increasing and more baby boomers are choosing to delay retirement.
  •     Patients who underwent angioplasty required less care post-procedure and felt they were less of a burden to family and friends: 16 percent of angioplasty patients said they felt like a burden to family and friends, compared to 34 percent for heart surgery patients. Caregivers can often feel a substantial impact on their work life, personal finances and overall health and well-being. Decreasing the amount of care post-procedure can alleviate the personal and financial burden on many patients’ family members and friends who often have to fulfill this role.

“The survey results show a nearly two-fold reduction in symptoms such as chest discomfort and shortness of breath following angioplasty, and many of the patients reported having tried medical therapy for as long as seven to eight years to try and achieve similar results,” said J. Jeffrey Marshall, MD, FSCAI, SCAI president. “We see it every day in our patients. They come in with debilitating symptoms that interfere with their quality of life and we are able to get them back to living their lives not long after their procedure.”

The paper, titled “Effect of Percutaneous Coronary Intervention on Quality of Life: A Consensus Statement from the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions,” highlights recommendations including:

  •     Informed Consent: The physician should present treatment options and the risks and benefits of each, as well as the quality of life associated with each option.
  •     Choice of Strategy: Both coronary stenting and bypass surgery have short and long-term advantages and disadvantages. The patient should be fully informed of the trade-offs they are considering when choosing treatment options.
  •     Quality of Life: The patient’s quality of life should be taken into consideration in all aspects of angioplasty and stenting care, from the initial assessment through the public reporting of results.

“Today’s survey results reinforce current clinical and scientific research. We’ve reviewed past literature and that, combined with our patients’ perspective, makes a very compelling case for the effectiveness of angioplasty and stenting on improving quality of life,” said lead author James C. Blankenship, MD, FSCAI. “Improving a patient’s quality of life is a key benefit that is important for healthcare providers to evaluate as they work with their patients to determine the best treatment approach.”

The paper underscores many of today’s survey findings, including angioplasty and stenting’s ability to:

  •     Enhance heart disease patients’ exercise capacity;
  •     Alleviate angina or chest pain more effectively than medical therapy in patients with stable angina; and
  •     More effectively enhance quality of life shortly after the procedure when compared to heart bypass surgery, because patients are able to return to work sooner, a key indicator of quality of life for heart patients as found in today’s survey results.

“SCAI is dedicated to advancing the treatment of cardiovascular care that benefits quality of life and gets patients back to what they want to be doing,” said Marshall.

The survey was conducted between May 11 and June 21, 2012 on behalf of SCAI by Harris Interactive and surveyed 464 adult heart patients in the United States who underwent scheduled or unscheduled angioplasty, stenting or heart bypass surgery in the past three years. “Effect of Percutaneous Coronary Intervention on Quality of Life: A Consensus Statement from the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions,” is available via http://www.scai.org.

About SCAI

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions is a 4,000-member professional organization representing invasive and interventional cardiologists in approximately 70 nations. SCAI's mission is to promote excellence in invasive and interventional cardiovascular medicine through physician education and representation, and advancement of quality standards to enhance patient care. SCAI's patient and physician education program, Seconds Count, offers comprehensive information about cardiovascular disease. For more information about SCAI and Seconds Count, visit http://www.scai.org or http://www.SecondsCount.org.

About the survey:

The “Living Life to Your Heart’s Content: Patients Speak” patient perception and experience survey was conducted online between May 11 and June 21, 2012, by Harris Interactive on behalf of SCAI among 464 U.S. adults who had a scheduled or unscheduled angioplasty, stenting or heart bypass surgery within the past three years, including those who had a heart attack within the past three years and an unscheduled PCI or CABG. Results were weighted by age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, income and propensity to be online where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population.

The survey was developed with support from Abbott Vascular, Boston Scientific and Medtronic. The Society gratefully acknowledges this support, while taking sole responsibility for all content developed and disseminated through this effort.

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Kathy Boyd David
SCAI
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