Written Answers. - Heart By-pass Surgery.

Seamus Kirk


9 Mr. Kirk asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the recent Irish Medical News article which argued that by-pass surgery has shown to be effective in a very small percentage of cardiac patients; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7319/96]

,Limerick East): From time to time various articles are published as part of the ongoing debate on medical developments. This article referred to by the Deputy will be looked at in the ongoing consideration of measures to deal with cardiac problems.

In the case of heart disease, mortality rates vary in different countries. In Ireland this disease is treated in a number of ways and can be broadly divided into four categories, namely (i) prevention, (ii) medical treatment, (iii) angioplasty and (iv) open heart surgery. Most patients with heart disease are treated medically in a non-invasive way.
Patients with cardiac disease are fully assessed and only in certain clinical circumstances are some referred for cardiac surgery assessment. There are internationally accepted criteria for cardiac surgery and in Ireland patients are reviewed by cardiologists and cardiac surgeons using these criteria, before a decision is made as to the best form of therapy for individual patients. In Ireland, there is no evidence that patients are inappropriately referred for cardiac surgery.