Tyler Doctors Challenge Claim Medicine Is Enough To Treat Heart Disease

Around 2,200 heart disease patients were chosen to be in the study, a majority of them white males. One of the first discrepancies local cardiologists question.

"They do not represent the vast majority of patients that we see in hospitals that we have here in Tyler," says East Texas Medical Center Cardiologist Dr. Scott Lieberman.

"There are different ethnic groups most of which are not represented in this study. Does it apply to them? we don't know," says Cardiologist Dr. Thaddeus Tolleson with Trinity Mother Frances Health Institute.

In the trial, half of patients received aggressive drug therapy including statins, blood pressure medicine and aspirin to treat chest pain caused from blockage.

The other half received the same drug therapy along with a stent. After 4 1/2 years, the rate of heart attack and death was the same.

Dr. Tolleson says what's not being told,"The current study was done in stable patients, not in patients who are having heart attacks."

Dr. Lieberman adds, "We're very concerned that these patients may not come in for medical care, or may feel all they need to do is stay on aspirin and they don't need to come in to the emergency room and be evaluated. I think that would be extremely counterproductive."

Both Tyler cardiologists say treating angina, or chest pain, solely through medical therapy is nothing new. In fact, they've prescribed it for some of their patients.

But with any medical procedure, what works for some may not work for others.

"For more sicker, unstable patients I don't want them turning away from getting a cath or an angioplasty that may save their life," says Dr. Lieberman.

In conclusion, talk to your doctor. He or she will generally list all your treatments options, based on what's right for you.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com