Tag Archives: widowmaker

The Widowmaker: Stents versus Calcium Scans

I’ve just finished watching a documentary on Netflix called The Widowmaker which alternately had me fascinated, disgusted, bored, excited, and angry.

This movie is about the treatment of coronary artery disease and what we can do about the large number of people who drop dead from heart attacks, some 4 million in the last 30 years.

The documentary, as all medical documentaries tend to do, simplifies, dumbs down and hyperbolizes a very important medical condition. Despite that it makes some really important points and I’m going to recommend it to all my patients.

At the very least it gets people thinking about their risk of dying from heart disease which remains the #1 killer of men and women in the United States.

Perhaps it will have more patients question the value of stents outside the setting of an acute heart attack. This is a good thing.

Perhaps it will stimulate individuals to be more proactive about their risk of heart attack. This is a good thing.

Take a look. Think about it. If you decide you might benefit from a coronary calcium scan of your heart let me know.

I’ll dissect this movie in detail in subsequent posts. There are a lot of inaccuracies  but some fundamental and important points are made that patients need to now.

Stents do not prevent heart attacks.

Standard risk factors do not do well at predicting who will have a heart attack.

-ACP