Doctors Hid Data on Stent Deaths

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • The Excel trial, which was sponsored by U.S. stent manufacturer Abbott, compared the use of drug-eluting stents to coronary-artery bypass grafting (CABG)
  • The results suggested the two procedures were equivalent in terms of deaths that occurred among patients after three years
  • The results, however, didn’t show the full picture, as at the time of the study’s publication, the researchers had access to data from five years’ prior
  • There was evidence that the stents were deadlier than CABG, but the researchers chose to only look at the data up to three years — and not a day after
  • When the five-year data were factored in, there was evidence that stents were causing more deaths than bypass surgery
  • A number of surgical organizations and others have called for an independent review of the raw data used in the trial, and the researchers have agreed, but there is concern that the reviewers may not be independent

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