Texas “Overstenting” Case Close To Resolution

There has been a lot of US coverage in recent news items relating to cardiologists accused of “overstenting”, in other words putting in more implants than justified, presumably and allegedly for personal financial gain. It appears that one of these cases may be close to resolution, the Texas interventional cardiologist Dr Samuel DeMaio emerging from a raft of allegations and a three year ordeal with no restrictions to his license and all but one lawsuit behind him.

Dr DeMaio had been sued by eight patients and was subsequently investigated by his medical board, having been accused of performing a range of unnecessary procedures.

The full details can be found in an article on Heartwire here.

The Allegations
Heartwire reports that; According to the board’s original complaint, DeMaio placed multiple stents in areas of insignificant or moderate disease; performed multiple angiograms in patients who were asymptomatic and had normal stress tests; unnecessarily implanted an ICD in two patients; failed to adequately inform patients of risks; failed to obtain informed consent for the off-label use of a stent in one patient; and inappropriately administered propofol to one patient, contributing to the patient’s demise.

In the mediated agreed order signed earlier this month, however, the board’s findings are dramatically curtailed, saying only that the board had found DeMaio to have placed multiple, elongated, overlapping drug-eluting stents in areas of insignificant or only moderate disease and that his “reading of angiography film as it relates to percentage of arterial occlusion was flawed and disagreed with intravenous ultrasound (IVUS) imaging performed.”

One lawsuit remains unresolved
Of the eight lawsuits brought against him, two have been resolved in his favour, and he’s been dismissed from the other five. These five cases were all settled with payments made to the patients from codefendants that DeMaio would not name, but not, he stressed, from him or his insurer on his behalf.

Commenting on the final lawsuit, DeMaio emphasized to heartwire: “I don’t want to settle the lawsuit because it’s a case where I don’t think I did anything wrong, and my attorney thinks I can fight it.”

This last case, according to the Austin Statesman, involves a patient in his 80s who alleges DeMaio implanted 32 stents over a 13-month period. DeMaio has previously acknowledged that 32 stents was “an exceptional number,” but noting that the patient had refused bypass surgery.

Is 32 stents a record for one patient that we can beat in Europe? Feel free to let us know, but we’re guessing it won’t have been beaten in the NHS.

Source: Heartwire, medlatest staff