Heart Trouble

Doctors face an ethical dilemma when they replace the heart valves of opioid users with a recurring heart-valve infection called endocarditis. The expensive procedure cannot address the underlying problem of addiction—which may send patients back for another round of surgery.
 
“We’ve had people come in, get their valves done, go back out and use, and they either die or … now they’ve reinfected their new valve,” says Nancy Teixeira, director of cardiovascular surgery at Manchester, New Hampshire’s Catholic Medical Center.
 
To minimize repeat surgeries, the medical center has crafted ethical guidelines encouraging clinicians to connect patients with addiction counseling.
 
Source: NPR Shots

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