12 things in your home that Lead to Heart Disease
Searching for products?

Do I Really Need A Stent?

  This post may contain affiliate links
Facebook
Twitter
Reddit
WhatsApp
Email
stent

Approximately 1.2 million Americans receive a stent in their heart each year to help open narrowed coronary arteries. So chances are, if you’ve had an abnormal stress test or coronary artery scan, your doctor may have recommended a stent for you too. But is it necessary?

What is coronary artery disease?

Over 20 million Americans walk through life with plaque buildup inside the small vessels that supply blood to the heart. These fatty deposits narrow and stiffen the arteries, making it difficult for oxygen-rich blood to reach all areas of the heart. 

Unfortunately, most people have no idea they have coronary artery disease until a significant catastrophic event, such as a stroke or a heart attack, occurs. 

What is a stent?

Physicians began using stents in the mid-1980s, primarily to treat individuals having acute heart attacks. During this procedure, called a coronary angioplasty, a tiny, expandable mesh tube is placed in the artery to help keep the vessel open. 

Coronary stents quickly became popular for individuals with narrowed arteries, even if they didn’t have a cardiac emergency. It made sense, after all, to open a clogged artery so that oxygenated blood could better reach the heart. 

Most metal stents used today come coated with slow-releasing medication to help prevent scar tissue growth in the artery. While bare metal stents still exist, drug-eluting stents (DES) have become the chosen method for interventional cardiologists. 

When should a stent be used? 

The primary goal of stent placement is to open the blood vessel, theoretically reducing the risk of heart attack and death. Studies show that stents are most useful in emergencies, such as when someone is actively having a heart attack. When an artery becomes completely occluded, a stent helps restore blood flow to the heart, thus saving a person’s life. 

Stents may also be helpful for individuals having unstable symptoms from their narrowed arteries. For example, those with frequent or worsening chest pain, also called angina, may benefit from stent placement. In some situations, stents may help to relieve discomfort caused by severe coronary artery disease. 

What are the risks of stent placement? 

As with all medical procedures, coronary angioplasty with stenting comes with significant risks, including: 

  • Blood clots
  • Bleeding at the catheter insertion site
  • Damage to blood vessels
  • Re-narrowing of the artery
  • Allergic reactions to the contrast dye
  • Development of arrhythmias
  • Rupture of the coronary artery
  • Heart attack 
  • Stroke 

Ironically, some of the possible risks of stent placements are the same things the procedure aims to avoid. 

When to avoid stents

There’s no question that stents have saved countless numbers of lives during acute heart attacks. Still, mounting evidence suggests that stents are useless for individuals with stable coronary artery disease.

As a 2020 NEJM study points out, treating patients with stable coronary artery disease aims to reduce the risk of heart attacks and death, all while improving their quality of life. Unfortunately, as the study concludes, stents achieve none of those goals. 

Coronary stents do nothing to prevent heart attacks or death in individuals with stable angina. Instead, stents increase the risk of catastrophic events. Doctors who place stents in asymptomatic individuals have taken a stable situation and made it unstable. Stent patients face significant risk during the procedure, followed by a lifetime of dangerous medications.

A large 2019 randomized study of over 5,100 people produced similar results. Study authors concluded that stents are no better than lifestyle changes in individuals with chronic or stable coronary artery disease. Simply put, while stents may be beneficial for reducing symptoms in those with unstable angina, they don’t prolong or save lives. Therefore, individuals without symptoms or with manageable symptoms should avoid stents altogether. 

Alternative options for stents

Coronary artery disease impacts all areas of the heart, weakening heart vessel walls and leaving the individual prone to a heart attack. Placing a stent in an area with a tight blockage does not address the underlying issue. In fact, putting a stent in often gives the patient a false sense of security. Sadly, some individuals who receive a stent feel that the problem is fixed and continue living the same lifestyle that got them into the situation in the first place. 

The best way to treat severe narrowing of the blood vessels is by holistically treating the entire disease process. By addressing the root cause of coronary artery disease, you have the best chances of improving blood flow to the heart, making the heart more efficient. 

Coronary artery disease is primarily a lifestyle disease. Studies show that people can substantially reduce their risk of fatal cardiovascular events by changing how they live. The best alternatives to having a stent placed include the following: 

  • Consuming an organic, whole-food based-diet
  • Increasing consumption of wild-caught seafood and grass-finished meats, including organ meat
  • Eliminating sugar, gluten, processed grains, and seed oils
  • Exercising regularly
  • Spending time outside in the sunshine
  • Getting quality sleep each night
  • Reducing stress 
  • Avoiding toxins in the home and workplace
  • Improving the quality of indoor air and water 
  • Surrounding oneself with positive people 

Next steps

The human body is remarkable at healing itself, creating many ways to combat the damage it’s exposed to daily. Coronary artery disease is the body’s repair mechanism for inflammation. Messing with this healing mechanism through stent placement may be dangerous. 

If your doctor has recommended a stent, please be reminded that this is an expensive and potentially risky procedure, especially if it’s used merely for psychological benefit. Instead, consider working with one of our knowledgeable health providers to gain more clarity about your choices. 

Our highly experienced healthcare team uses only the most up-to-date clinical evidence to help you make informed decisions about your health, bringing you that much closer to your 100 Year Heart. 

Eat well, Live well, Think well

Facebook
Twitter
Reddit
WhatsApp
Email

You may also enjoy these posts...

About Dr. Keith Smigiel NP, DC

Dr. Keith Smigiel

Dr. Keith Smigiel is a regenerative medicine physician and pain management specialist. He takes an integrative approach to medicine, focusing on customized solutions tailored to individual needs. Using advanced, non-surgical treatments, Dr. Smigiel stimulates your body’s ability to naturally heal itself.

Dr. Smigiel helps people suffering from conditions such as chronic pain and erectile dysfunction, to hair loss and weight gain. Combining treatments such as PRP Therapy, Ozone, Neural Prolotherapy, and IV Infusions with functional rehabilitation, he helps you look and feel better.

He heals the body, instead of just treating the symptoms!

With his professional qualifications as a certified family nurse practitioner, a doctor of chiropractic, and a fellow of the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture, Dr. Smigiel offers patients comprehensive care from a broad perspective of conventional and alternative medicine. He also has extensive experience in functional rehabilitation and chronic pain management.

Dr. Smigiel is married to Angela and has two children, Sophia and Larz. When he’s not busy helping patients, he enjoys hiking, mountain biking, motocross, and boating.

About Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

Dr. James Kneller is one of the nation’s leading heart rhythm specialists. Dr. Kneller is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Disease, and Internal Medicine.

As a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society (FHRS) and Certified Cardiac Device Specialist (CCDS), Kneller provides comprehensive patient care, combining best medical practice with invasive procedures using state-of-the-art technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders.

Beyond guideline-directed therapies, Kneller is passionate about optimized personal health. With a deep interest in complimentary alternative medicine (CAM), he strives to reduce the need for pharmaceuticals, invasive procedures, and exposure to harmful radiation. With Natural Heart Doctor, he strives to help each and every client to Live Well, Eat Well, and Think Well to attain their 100-year heart!

About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

Dr. Lattanza Office Visit with Patient

As a Naturopathic Physician, I am trained to treat the whole person and get to the root cause of disease.

I went to Arizona State University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a depth in physiology and minor in Spanish. After my undergraduate degree I was working on prerequisite classes towards medical school, which is when I came to learn that my values identified best with the principles of naturopathic medicine. I knew that I wanted to help patients identify the causes of disease and be able to offer treatments which would improve their health rather than simply treating symptoms.

I dedicated the next 4 years to the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona where I attained my Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine. I served as Class President all 4 years, Board of Trustees – Student Trustee, spoke as the Club President for our branch of Toastmasters, and was voted by my peers and attending physicians to earn the Outstanding Leadership Award for the Class of 2020. Throughout medical school I took it upon myself to work alongside MDs, DOs, chiropractors, and functional medicine practitioners in addition to naturopathic physicians.

As a Spanish speaking student, I was able to volunteer with community clinics around Phoenix and provide free healthcare to low-income families. Due to this combined exposure, I came to find my passion in treating cardiometabolic and digestive disorders that are all too common, yet largely preventable. I took the opportunity to learn the broad spectrum of healthcare so I can ensure that I am able to provide my patients with the best options.

About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

Dr. Wolfson Office Visit with Patient

Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist, Amazon best-selling author, husband, father, and the nation’s #1 Natural Heart Doctor.

For more than two decades, more than one million people have enjoyed the warmth, compassion, and transformational power of his natural heart health courses and events.

Dr. Wolfson is the founder of Natural Heart Doctor Scottsdale, his heart health practice in Arizona, and Natural Heart Doctor, an online resource center with natural health information. Doctors from across the globe reach out to Dr. Wolfson for training and education in holistic health practices.

He has been named one of America’s Top Functional Medicine Doctors and is a five-time winner of the Natural Choice Awards as a holistic M.D. Dr. Wolfson’s work has been covered by more than 100 media outlets, including NBC, CNN, and the Washington Post. His book “The Paleo Cardiologist: The Natural Way to Heart Health” was an Amazon #1 best-seller.

Dr. Wolfson and his wife Heather have four children and are committed to making the world a better place to live. They provide for those in need (including animals) and support natural health causes through their philanthropic efforts.

Chiropractic

Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

IV Therapy

We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Acupuncture

Stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being with acupuncture at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Health Coaching

Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Cardio Tests

We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Office Visits

Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email health@naturalheartdoctor.com. A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.