Unnecessary Heart Stents

heart image
heart image

After experiencing shortness of breath, chest pains and other health problems, you may have gone to your doctor and learned that blood hasn’t been flowing properly to your heart.

If your doctor ordered you to receive a heart stent without considering or discussing with you any less invasive and risky alternatives, and the stent made little difference in your condition, you may have a valid legal claim.

You should speak immediately with a lawyer from Bubalo Goode.

In particular, our firm is investigating whether heart disease patients from Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and elsewhere received unnecessary heart stents while being treated for heart disease at King’s Daughters Medical Center in Ashland, Kentucky.

Federal Investigations Into Unnecessary Stenting Procedures

A heart stent can open blood flow to the heart. It can be a necessity in emergencies like heart attacks or blocked arteries.

However, if the patient is not showing life-threatening symptoms, inserting a cardiac stent may be unneeded. The procedure could actually lead to more harm than good, medical experts say. Instead, doctors should order patients to take medication and make key lifestyle changes, according to these experts.

Shockingly, in 44 percent of the cases analyzed in a study published in 2011 in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), doctors didn’t even try medication and lifestyle changes before performing an elective (or non-emergency) heart stent procedure. The researchers found that only half of these stents were “appropriate,” while 12 percent were “inappropriate.”

According to a researcher interviewed by Bloomberg, a third of all elective heart stent procedures in the U.S., or about 200,000 per year, are completely unnecessary.

This means that doctors may have exposed a large number of patients to the many risks posed by stenting procedures, including perforated arteries, blood clots, infections and allergic reactions, without any medical justification.

Unfortunately, this is a widespread problem. Bloomberg News reports that 11 hospitals in recent years have settled federal allegations that they inserted unnecessary heart stents simply so they could bill health programs such as Medicare for the procedure.

Stenting Procedures at King’s Daughters Come Under Scrutiny

King’s Daughters is the latest hospital to face a federal investigation. Prosecutors have been looking into stenting practices at the facility’s heart center since 2011, Bloomberg reports.

There are many red flags.

Bloomberg reports that King’s Daughters performed more stent procedures in 2011 than any other facility in Kentucky, including those in metropolitan areas like Louisville and Lexington.

Doctors in Ashland performed heart stent procedures on 27 out of every 1,000 Medicare patients in the area in 2010, or 3.5 times the national average, according to Bloomberg.

“Ashland is a sore thumb sticking out that needs to be diagnosed,” a University of Louisville medical professor told Bloomberg. “Income appears to be driving medical decisions, not medical need.”

What Can You Do About A Suspected Unnecessary Heart Stent Procedure?

Contact Bubalo Goode. We have a legal team standing by to look into your case.

We will want to know if you recently had a heart catheterization at King’s Daughters Medical Center. If so, we will want to know whether a drug-coated or bare metal stent was placed in your coronary artery. We also will want to know if you are suffering any complications.

You only have a limited time to file a legal claim in an unnecessary heart stent case. So, you need to contact us right away so we can examine your case and determine your options.

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