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Coated Stents Better Than Bare Metal Ones in Short Run

But slightly higher mortality rates showed up after 3 years, study finds

THURSDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Angioplasty patients who receive stents coated with medication to prevent narrowing of the artery do better one year after the surgery than those who receive bare metal stents, a new study shows.

However, within three years of the procedure, patients with these drug-eluting stents (DES) face a greater risk of more surgery to increase blood flow or even death, according to the study of 6,440 patients, expected to be published in the Jan. 20 issue of CMAJ.

"Despite recent concerns surrounding drug-eluting stent safety, the long-term survival [to three years] of patients receiving drug-eluting stents remains globally favorable and certainly not measurably worse than that of patients treated with bare metal stents," study co-authors Drs. William Ghali and Andrew Philpott of the University of Calgary, said in a journal news release. "However, we did observe a concerning risk trend toward accelerating adverse events in the DES group late in the follow-up period -- a finding that underlines the need for ongoing surveillance of longer-term outcomes."

The study found that the death rate for people with drug-eluting stents was significantly lower than for those with bare metal stents in the first 30 days after the operation. It also noted that DES patients tended to be women and also had higher rates of kidney disease, diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension.

In a related commentary to be published on the journal's Web site later this week, Columbia University Medical Center Drs. Philippe Généreux and Roxana Mehran wrote that, despite increasing positive study results about drug-eluting stents, their long-term safety is still a concern, citing particular concerns about the development of stent thrombosis.

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about drug-eluting stents.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: CMAJ, news release, Dec. 18, 2008

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