Naomi Freundlich on May 17, 2011 published a good summary article on the "Health Beat" blog about the current (unfortunately sad) state of affairs regarding the best treatment for angina (chest pain). According to the article titled "Time to Stop 'Resolutely Ignoring' Medical Evidence", there have been a number of large scale medical studies comparing treatment of chest pain by cardiologists. These studies generally agree that for most people, drug therapy is better than cardiac stents or cardiac bypass surgery (CAB).
However, the problem is that most cardiologists are not following these recommendations. There does seem to be a conflict of interest where cardiologists and hospitals earn much more money from cardiac stents and that this seems to be influencing their decisions.
This article covers the issues very well and gives references to the original research. I highly recommend it.
If you find yourself in a situation where you have chest pain and facing the prospect of treatment, the article gives some good guidance on what to ask your cardiologist. If the cardiologist is recommending a stent, you should question him or her carefully about the necessity for this and inquire about drug treatment instead. In addition, if bypass surgery is being recommended, there are a few situations where this is the preferred treatment and you should make sure that you fall into this category of patients.