In recent days the details of alleged misuse of coronary stents for patients treated in one of the area's hospitals has been in the news ("Patients learn they might have unneeded stents" Jan. 15). The allegations leave patients and the public at-large wondering about all cardiac care and if they can rely on the recommendations from their doctors.
The profession of cardiology has always held patient trust in the highest regard. Quality initiatives that include oversight for everyone who practices in a catherization lab, even the director, must be part of every institution's quality control program.
I want to reassure the public that board certified cardiologists who are members of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the Maryland Chapter of the ACC (MDACC) are working every day to put their patients' care and their patients interests first. As an organization we have carefully created practice guidelines based on scientific data providing physicians the latest in best practices. We have built databases so that hospitals can see how their results for procedures compare with hospitals across the region and nationally. We have education sessions, scientific journals and websites devoted to making the best information available at the hospital bedside -- so the best decisions are made for an individual patient.