Drug-coated stents safer for bypass patients

January 22nd, 2009 - 3:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Jan 22 (IANS) Drug coated stents are safer for coronary bypass patients as they carry lower risks of complications than bare-metal stents, says a new study.The study is the first large, multi-centre trial comparing two types of commonly used stents, small mesh tubes that reinforce the walls of blocked blood vessels. In this study, stents were used to treat blockages in diseased coronary arteries.

In bypass surgery, grafts are taken from the saphenous vein in the patient’s thigh and sewn to the coronary arteries to help improve blood flow to the heart, relieve severe chest pain and reduce the risk of heart attacks from blocked arteries.

Years after surgery, those grafts may develop blockages inside the graft that are challenging to treat because of high rates of recurrence.

“We wanted to see if one type of stent was superior in reducing the incidence of re-narrowing of the vein graft,” said Emmanouil Brilakis, assistant professor of internal medicine at University of Texas (UT) Southwestern and co-author of the study.

“Stented vein grafts have a very high risk of re-narrowing - sometimes up to 50 percent when bare metal stents are used.

“Drug-eluting stents could provide a solution to this problem, but limited clinical results have been reported to date. The drug-eluting stents examined in our study are coated with a medication called paclitaxel, which inhibits cell growth.”

In the study, researchers examined 80 patients, roughly half of whom had vein grafts with drug-eluting stents and the other half who had the same procedure with bare-metal stents.

Researchers found that 51 percent of patients with the bare-metal stent had re-narrowing of the vein graft over several months compared with nine percent of the drug-eluting stent group.

In addition, 28 percent of patients who had a bare-metal stent required another procedure to treat the same blockage, while only five percent of patients who had the drug-eluting stent did, said a UT release.

The study will appear online and in an upcoming issue of The Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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