(CNN) – Those with stable heart disease may fare well on medications alone instead of having invasive procedures like stents and bypass surgeries, according to a major trial.
The findings were presented at the American Heart Association’s yearly conference.
While chest pain and quality of life in some patients improved with invasive operations, the trial found those procedures didn’t significantly change subsequent heart attacks – hospitalization for unstable chest pain or heart failure – resuscitation after cardiac arrest – or death from heart disease.
The trial, launched in 2012, included research on more than five thousand patients in 37 countries, which researchers say is the largest study of its kind.
The study’s chair estimates hundreds of millions of dollars would be saved in the U.S., if patients without symptoms forego invasive surgeries.
Experts say debate continues in the medical community but patients should discuss the benefits and risks of both medications and surgical solutions to heart disease with their doctor.