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More patients with drug-coated cardiac stents survive, avoid costly follow-up procedures
Date:5/22/2008

(PHILADELPHIA) The more than ten million Americans whove received drug-eluting stents to open their blocked coronary arteries have a bright future, according to new research from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

The findings, among the first large follow-up studies to show a clear, lifesaving benefit of drug-eluting stents compared to bare metal stents, will be published in the May 27 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Patients with the drug-coated stents -- designed not only to open blocked coronary arteries but also to chemically inhibit future blockage -- were less apt to die, have heart attacks or require extra stents or bypass surgery in the two years following placement of the stent.

This might be a hidden nugget of goodness that could not be detected in clinical trials, says Peter W. Groeneveld, MD, MS, assistant professor in Penns Division of General Internal Medicine. There is a distinct possibility that drug-eluting stents not only reduce the need for future cardiac procedures, but also save lives.

Groeneveld and his colleagues studied Medicare data to identify about 72,000 patients who received drug-eluting stents during a nine-month period in 2003, the first year the devices were approved for use in the United States. Overall, the findings showed a clear survival benefit compared to a control group of patients who got bare metal stents -- at 90 days, 1 year and 2 years, patients with drug-coated stents were less likely to die.

In a separate study which will be published in the June issue of the American Heart Journal, Groeneveld also found that drug-eluting stents also offer cost savings during the first year after placement. Although the initial cost of the device averaging $16,000 -- outpaces that of a bare metal stent, which costs about $14,000, the Penn researchers found that among patients with the drug-coated stents, 12 percent of those studied needed additional
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Contact: Holly Auer
holly.auer@uphs.upenn.edu
215-200-2313
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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