Training program may be better for chronic chest pain than stent placement

Follow-up research needed

Data from more than 18,000 patients, some of whom followed a cardiac rehabilitation training program and the other had surgery and a stent, show that patients who followed the training program had a reduced risk of death, hospitalization and other conditions. ‘The researchers emphasize that these figures provide an initial indication and that further research is needed’, according to Radboudumc.


Stable or chronic chest pain (angina) is usually caused by a local narrowing in one or more coronary arteries. Due to this narrowing, the heart does not receive enough blood, which can cause the complaints of chest pain. These complaints mainly arise when the heart needs more oxygen, for example during exercise. If medicines do not (or no longer) work sufficiently, an operation often follows in which doctors, for example, place a stent; a hollow tube of gauze at the site of the narrowing, which prevents the narrowing from returning there.

Little exercise in people with heart problems

The researchers wondered whether surgery is the best treatment method for stable chest pain. ‘We now know that little exercise increases the risk of cardiovascular disease,’ says Dick Thijssen, physiologist at Radboudumc and principal researcher. ‘People with heart complaints generally move less than people without heart problems. We wanted to know whether it actually helps this group if they do follow a training program aimed at cardiac rehabilitation.’

Differences between surgery and training program

They compared the data of more than 18,000 patients diagnosed with stable angina pectoris, or chest pain due to narrowed coronary arteries. They also looked at how the patients were doing eighteen months later. Relative numbers of deaths, hospitalizations and new conditions were lower among patients undergoing cardiac rehabilitation than among patients with surgery. ‘With this study, we wanted to better understand the role that an exercise program can play in these patients with chronic chest pain. It does indeed seem like a good alternative’, says Thijssen.

Follow-up research into the best treatment

In this study, use was made of a large, already existing database, in which the data of patients was subsequently looked at. That is why, according to Thijssen, new research is needed in which two new groups are compared. Thijssen: ‘Radboudumc and the Maxima Medical Center will soon start a new study in which we will make a comparison between patients with chronic chest pain who undergo surgery and patients who are going to follow cardiac rehabilitation. With these results, we can hopefully say which treatment is best, and also for whom. Some patients may benefit more from an intensive training program, while we can operate better on others.’

Training program may be better for chronic chest pain than stent placement
Source link Training program may be better for chronic chest pain than stent placement

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