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Drug-Coated Stents: High Marks for Safety

Studies Show Drug-Coated Stents Have Lower Risk of Renarrowing of Arteries Than Bare-Metal Stents

Stents and Renarrowing of Arteries

In the U.S., roughly three out of four stent-treated patients receive the drug-coated devices, Gregg W. Stone, MD, of Columbia University tells WebMD.

In their newly reported trial, Stone and colleagues followed 3,006 patients treated with stents during a heart attack for a year.

Three-fourths of the patients received stents treated with the drug paclitaxel and the rest got bare-metal stents. The study was funded, in part, by drugmaker Boston Scientific, which makes the drug-coated stent used in the study.

The analysis revealed that:

  • Restinosis leading to recurrent chest pain, hospitalization, and repeat artery-opening procedures was reduced by 41% in the drug-coated stent group.
  • Renarrowing of the treated artery, as measured by an angiogram, was reduced by 56% in patients treated with the drug-coated stents.
  • Rates of death, second heart attack, and stroke were not significantly different between the two groups.

Stone says angioplasty, bare-metal stents, and drug-coated stents are equally effective for saving lives during a heart attack.

But he says it is increasingly clear that drug-coated stents offer advantages to patients who can take blood-thinning drugs to reduce their risk for blood clots.

"In our study, drug-eluting stents did not seem to reduce death rates, but they did reduce the incidence of renarrowing of the arteries," Stone says. "That means less chest pain, less hospitalization, and fewer repeat procedures."

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