Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size

Drug-Coated Stents Safest for Whom?

Study: Drug-Eluting Stents May Safely Trump Bare Metal Stents in Certain Patients
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Oct. 3, 2007 -- The safety of drug-coated stents is back in the news, and this time, the findings favor drug-coated stents -- at least, for some patients.

A new study shows that patients who are the most likely to need follow-up procedures after getting stents may have the best risk-benefit profile for drug-coated stents.

"This is good news, reassuring patients and cardiologists about the safety of drug-eluting stents when used in appropriate individuals," researcher Jack Tu, MD, PhD, says in a news release.

Tu works in Toronto at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and the University of Toronto. His study appears in tomorrow's edition of The New England Journal of Medicine.

Confused about stents? Take a minute to get up to speed with the following stent facts.

Stents 101

Stents are tiny metal mesh tubes that are inserted to hold open blocked or narrowed coronary arteries.

The coronary arteries supply blood to heart muscle. If the coronary arteries narrow, a heart attack becomes more likely.

Some stents are made of bare metal. Other stents are coated with drugs that help prevent the stents from clogging up.

Recent research has raised safety concerns about drug-coated stents (also called drug-eluting stents) and the risk of blood clots, heart attacks, and death. The debate about that risk is ongoing.

Stent Study

The new stent study is based on more than 7,400 Canadians who received stents between December 2003 and March 2005.

Half of the patients received bare-metal stents. The other half received drug-coated stents.

The patients and their doctors made the decision about what type of stent to get. They weren't assigned to get a certain type of stent.

All of the patients took a blood-thinning drug for a year after getting their stents.

Tu's team followed the patients for up to three years.

Stent Survival

The patients who got drug-coated stents had a better survival rate than those who got the bare-metal stents.

During the three-year study, 5.5% of patients in the drug-coated stent group died of any cause, compared with 7.8% of those who got bare-metal stents.

The heart attack rate in the two years following stenting was similar for both groups (5.2% of patients who got bare metal stents and 5.7% of those who got drug-coated stents).

Today on WebMD

x-ray of human heart
A visual guide.
atrial fibrillation
Symptoms and causes.
heart rate graph
10 things to never do.
heart rate
Get the facts.
empty football helmet
red wine
eating blueberries
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Inside A Heart Attack
Omega 3 Sources
Salt Shockers
lowering blood pressure