piece of good news, the number of adverse events reported in the study was much lower than had been expected, Garratt said. The small number of complications made it more difficult to detect differences between the two stents, he said, "but I am grateful to see such a very low event rate with both of these stents, particularly in light of worries about their safety that have been expressed in the last couple of years."
"In absolute numbers, drug-eluting stents are better than bare-metal stents," said Dr. Debabrata Mukherjee, a professor of interventional cardiology at the University of Kentucky, and co-author of an accompanying editorial. "I think it is reassuring that these devices are safe and effective."
The choice between the two stents might make a difference in certain cases, Mukherjee added. For example, for the highest-risk patients, those with diabetes or previous stent implants, the results of previous studies make the sirolimus stent appear slightly more preferable.
On the other hand, the paclitaxel stent is easier to implant in many cases, he noted.
The coated stent choice will become more complicated in the near future, because two new products are expected to be introduced this year, Mukherjee said.
"What you would like to see would be for the industry to step forward and conduct trials to see which stent is appropriate in different situations," he said.
You can learn about why and how stents are used from the American Heart Association.
SOURCES: Kirk Garratt, M.D., clinical director, interventional cardiovascular research, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Debabrata Mukherjee, M.D., professor, interventional cardiology, University of Kentucky, Lexington; Jan. 30, 2008, Journal of the American Medical Association
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