PITTSBURGH — Two cardiologists at a western Pennsylvania hospital implanted coronary stents in at least 141 patients who may not have needed them last year, a newspaper reported.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports medical reviews at Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg show the patients may not have had enough blockage in their arteries to need a stent. None of the identified patients is believed to have suffered any harm.
Hospital officials identified the doctors who implanted the questionable stents as 48-year-old Ehab Morcos and 45-year-old George Bousamra, who voluntarily resigned their privileges at Westmoreland in January after being questioned about the cases. The newspaper's efforts to contact the doctors were unsuccessful. Reliable telephone listings for the doctors could not immediately be located by The Associated Press.
Don't miss these Health stories
More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be?
Rates of women who are opting for preventive mastectomies, such as Angeline Jolie, have increased by an estimated 50 percent in recent years, experts say. But many doctors are puzzled because the operation doesn't carry a 100 percent guarantee, it's major surgery -- and women have other options, from a once-a-day pill to careful monitoring.
- Larry Page's damaged vocal cords: Treatment comes with trade-offs
- Report questioning salt guidelines riles heart experts
- CDC: 2012 was deadliest year for West Nile in US
- What stresses moms most? Themselves, survey says
- More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be?
Robert Rogalski, CEO of Excela Health, the hospital's parent company, says the doctors' names will be turned over to the Office of the Inspector General in the Department of Health and Human Services.
"This should have never happened," Rogalski told the newspaper. "There's no excuse for it."
The hospital was sending a letter to affected patients this week, telling them that two teams of nationally recognized interventional cardiologists determined that 141 patients in 2010 may not have had enough blockages in their arteries to need a stent, a tiny wire mesh device that props open clogged arteries. The newspaper reports the hospital is now reviewing the two doctors' 2009 cases, as well.
Rogalski became interim CEO at Westmoreland in late 2009 and took over permanently in February 2010. It was early last year, he said, when several unidentified physicians alerted hospital officials about a pattern of excessive stent use in the cardiac catheterization laboratory.
Results of a six-month review, which finished up in December, suggested a pattern of excessive stent utilization by Morcos and Bousamra, Westmoreland officials said. Rogalski then ordered a second, more thorough review involving all 753 cases performed by the two cardiologists last year.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.