Two cardiologists at Westmoreland Hospital implanted heart stents, also called coronary stents, in at least 141 patients who might not have needed them, according to a medical review.
Investigators found that 141 patients treated at the hospital in 2010 might not have had enough blockage in their arteries to require stents, which are small wire mesh devices used to prop open clogged heart arteries. A medically unnecessary heart stent can pose health risks to patients, including the chance that a blood clot could form on the stent, leading to a heart attack.
The doctors in question performed more than 750 of the approximately 2,000 stent procedures at Westmoreland Hospital last year. The investigation into their actions began when several unidentified physicians brought a pattern of excessive stent use to the attention of hospital officials. A six-month review indicated that two of the hospital's cardiologists performed the potentially unwarranted procedures. The physicians resigned in January.
Westmoreland Hospital is now reviewing the doctors' 2009 cases and expects to have results by May.