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Drug-Coated Balloons Open Arteries Blocked by Narrowed Stents
Date:11/16/2011

eeding. These patients were being treated with anti-clotting drugs for other medical problems, such as mechanical heart valves, atrial fibrillation and pulmonary embolism.

These patients also had narrowed stented arteries. Over six to nine months, drug-coated balloons were effective in keeping 69 of 73 narrowed arteries open.

Although narrowing occurred in four stents, only two patients needed another procedure, the researchers reported.

Using the drug-eluting balloon is better than using drug-eluting stents, according to the researchers.

Patients treated with drug-eluting metal stents need daily aspirin and other anti-clotting drugs for at least one year, which can increase the risk of bleeding, the researchers said.

However, they said, patients treated with a drug-coated balloon only need to take dual anti-clotting therapy for one month.

Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a spokesman for the American Heart Association, said that "drug-eluting stents significantly attenuate scar formation and the need for repeat procedures; however, dependency on prolonged dual anti-clotting therapy and late-stent thrombosis have led to investigations of alternative treatments."

In recent years, drug-eluting balloons have emerged as an alternative to drug-eluting stents to address blocking of arteries and avoid the need for prolonged dual anti-clotting therapy. Paclitaxel is used to coat the balloons and minimize cell growth, he said.

"Drug-eluting balloon technology has been demonstrated to be safe and potentially efficacious in small studies," Fonarow said.

"Both these patient series showed very good efficacy and safety. These promising findings should be further evaluated in prospective randomized clinical trials," he said.

The studies received no external funding, Zadura said.

Because the research was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclu
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