New research suggests a popular treatment for chest pain may be useless for many people, The New York Times reported today.
Citing a Wednesday study published in The Lancet, the Times wrote that new research raised "questions about whether [heart] stents should be used so often — or at all — to treat chest pain."
Heart stents are small tubes, generally made from metal or fabric, that are used to restore blood flow through narrow or blocked arteries. They became popular in the 1990s as an alternative to the more invasive option of bypass surgery, according to the Times.
Inserting a stent costs between $11,000 and $41,000, the Times said.
"All cardiology guidelines should be revised," Dr. David L. Brown of Washington University School of Medicine and Dr. Rita F. Redberg of the University of California, San Francisco, wrote in an editorial published with the new study, according to the Times.
Other research has sought to examine whether heart stents are as effective in treating heart attacks as is commonly thought.