Between April 2003 and December 2004, researchers identified 20,654 patients who were listed in the registry.
Participants were enrolled in the trial over an 18-month period, scheduled to coincide with the introduction of drug-eluting stents to the market. All were followed for a minimum of two years after receiving a stent.
Overall, 35 percent of the patients received a bare metal stent and 65 percent received a drug-eluting stent. The study was not randomized, which meant that patients received one or the other based on clinical decisions made by their doctors.
There was no significant difference in the incidence of death or heart attack between the two groups. "If anything, there was a lower rate of mortality in the drug-eluting group as compared to the bare metal stents," Mauri reported.
Dr. Sidney Smith is past president of the American Heart Association and professor of medicine and director of the Center for Cardiovascular Science and Medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. He said the new "findings are similar to what came out in [a recent] Lancet meta-analysis.
"We're still trying to evaluate the data and we're applying more precise criteria," he added.
For more on stents, visit the American Heart Association.
SOURCES: Sidney Smith, M.D, past president of the American Heart Association and professor of medicine and director of the Center for Cardiovascular Science and Medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill; Nov. 4, 2007, news conference with Laura Mauri, M.D., assistant professor, medicine, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and
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