Also, there was no difference in the rate of patients developing stent thrombosis whether they were taking the blood thinner Angiomax (bivalirudin) or heparin plus glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors, which also help prevent clots from forming.
Although patients treated with Angiomax had a higher rate of acute stent thrombosis, both groups had equal rates of stent thrombosis after a month, the researchers reported.
Dangas's group also collected information on factors that could lead to stent thrombosis, such as smoking, insulin-treated diabetes, implanting several stents, treatment of ulcerated lesions and complete blockage of the artery responsible for the heart attack.
For these patients, high doses of the anti-clotting drug Plavix (clopidogrel) protected against stent thrombosis.
A related presentation Saturday at the cardiology conference found that patients with coated stents had fewer cases of serious complications. The study -- the largest one ever to evaluate "real-world" stent patients -- included 217,675 patients over age 65 with coated stents and 45,025 patients with bare-metal devices, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The study found that patients with coated stents were significantly less susceptible to non-fatal heart attacks or death. And there were slightly fewer cases of repeat procedures with coated stent patients, while stroke rates were about the same in both groups of patients, the newspaper said.
To learn more about stents, visit the American Heart Association.
SOURCES: March 29, 2009, teleconference with George Dangas, M.D., Ph.D, associate professor of medicine, Columbia University Medical Cente
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