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PCI Guideline Update Stresses Long-Term Anticoagulant Therapy After Treatment With Drug-Eluting Stents
Date:12/13/2007

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Patients treated with drug-eluting stents must take a combination of aspirin and the clot-reducing drug clopidogrel for at least one year, and possibly longer, after stent implantation. This is a crucial message in a guideline update published online today in the journals of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI), American College of Cardiology (ACC), and American Heart Association (AHA). To access the "2007 Focused Update of the ACC/AHA/SCAI 2005 Guideline Update for Percutaneous Coronary Intervention," visit SCAI's official journal, Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions, via http://www.scai.org.

Every year, thousands of patients experiencing a heart attack or chest pain (known as angina) undergo percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), or angioplasty. The procedure is a proven therapy for stopping heart attack and relieving painful symptoms of heart disease that result from arteries narrowed or blocked by the build-up of fatty deposits. The guideline update incorporates findings from research published relatively recently on the role of PCI in the spectrum of care for heart disease patients.

During angioplasty, an interventional cardiologist guides a thin tube (catheter), usually through the groin, to the arteries to reach the blockage. The interventionalist then threads a tiny wire over which a tube carrying a deflated balloon on its tip is advanced to the narrowed segment of the artery. As the tiny balloon is inflated, it compresses the blockage against the inside wall of the artery. This re-opens the artery so blood may again flow freely. To keep the artery open, doctors also may insert an expandable mesh stent - a tiny "scaffold" made of metal -- at the site of the blockage. Drug-eluting stents release medication over time to help keep new tissues from growing and re-blocking the artery.

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SOURCE Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions
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