TUESDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- A newer generation, drug-releasing stent led to fewer adverse cardiac events, such as heart-related death or heart attack linked to the same artery, than bare metal stents did among heart attack patients, a new study shows.
Stents are tiny mesh tubes surgically implanted to open arteries.
Swiss researchers noted the newer drug-emitting stents may also help patients avoid the chronic inflammation associated with early-generation drug-releasing stents.
"Newer-generation drug-eluting stents with biodegradable polymers provide controlled drug release," the study authors explained in the Aug. 22/29 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Led by Dr. Lorenz Raber, of Bern University Hospital, the research team compared the safety and effectiveness of stents that released the drug biolimus from a biodegradable polymer, against bare metal stents that did not release a drug.
The study involved almost 1,200 patients in Europe and Israel who had a type of heart attack known as ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Nearly 80 percent of the patients were men, and the average age was 61 years.
The participants were randomly assigned to receive the drug-releasing stent or the bare metal stent. They were examined one month after their artery opening procedure, and again at 12 months. The researchers determined the effectiveness of the stents by measuring rates of adverse cardiac events, including cardiac death and other heart problems.
The investigators found that at one year, 4.3 percent of patients who received the drug-releasing stents experienced major adverse cardiac events, compared to 8.7 percent of patients who received bare metal stents.
These findings represent a significant 4.4 percent absolute reduction and 51 percent relative reduction in the risk for major adverse cardiac events, the researchers pointed out in a jou
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