CHICAGO - Treating stable heart patients with a handful of pills works just as well as propping open blocked heart arteries with a stent, US researchers said on Monday, adding to evidence that less-invasive, less-costly drug treatment works as well as implanting a medical device in such patients.

Stents, made by companies such as Boston Scientific Corp , Abbott Laboratories and Medtronic Inc, are still the preferred treatment for opening up blocked heart arteries in patients rushed to the hospital with an acute heart attack.

But several studies have shown the heart devices are no better than drugs in patients with stable heart disease, in which heart arteries have narrowed and may be causing chest pain.

The latest analysis by Dr. Kathleen Stergiopoulous and Dr. David Brown of Stony Brook University Medical Center in New York, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, attempts to knock down lingering arguments that earlier results were based on outdated technology.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger