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New Type of Stent Shows Promise
Date:11/11/2008

It recruits blood vessel cells as a kind of heart-healthy coating, experts explain

TUESDAY, Nov. 11 (HealthDay News) -- A new generation of stents shows promise in avoiding the late-onset problems that have plagued drug-eluting stents in patients with heart disease, researchers say.

The tiny mesh tubes that are stents are intended to prop open narrowed arteries, but this new stent works in a novel way. It is coated with an antibody that provokes cells lining artery walls to migrate to and cover the stent, thus speeding the healing process and keeping arteries open longer.

"This is kind of the third-generation stent. One could even call these 'smart' or 'smarter' stents, because they are designed to deal with some of the problems that have existed in the earlier versions," said Dr. Gregory Dehmer, professor of internal medicine at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and director of the cardiology division at Scott & White in Temple. "It's an exciting development, but . . . we have to temper our enthusiasm with the growing knowledge that some of the problems with drug-eluting [emitting] stents didn't show up for two to three years."

Even with continued promising results, the new device is likely years away from the U.S. market. "The FDA has largely taken a position of making companies repeat their studies here in the U.S.," said Dr. John P. Reilly, an interventional cardiologist and director of cardiovascular CT at Ochsner Health System in New Orleans. "It will probably be three years before the technology comes to the U.S."

The findings come from two European studies expected to be presented Tuesday and Wednesday at the annual scientific meeting of the American Heart Association, held this year in New Orleans.

Stents are used in patients undergoing angioplasty procedures to reopen narrowed arteries. Bare metal stents were the first to be introduced, but patients often
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