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UT Southwestern researchers find drug-coated stents less risky for heart bypass patients
Date:1/21/2009

DALLAS Jan. 22, 2009 Coronary bypass surgery may carry less risk of serious complications if stents coated with a drug that suppresses cell growth are used in the procedure rather than bare-metal stents, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers and colleagues have found.

The study, appearing online and in an upcoming issue of The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, is the first large, multicenter trial comparing two types of commonly used stents. Stents are small mesh tubes that reinforce the walls of blocked blood vessels. In this study, stents were used to treat blockages in diseased coronary arteries.

In bypass surgery, grafts are taken from the saphenous vein in the patient's thigh and sewn to the coronary arteries to help improve blood flow to the heart, relieve severe chest pain and reduce the risk of heart attacks from blocked arteries. Years after surgery, those grafts may develop blockages inside the graft that are challenging to treat because of high rates of recurrence.

"We wanted to see if one type of stent was superior in reducing the incidence of re-narrowing of the vein graft," said Dr. Emmanouil Brilakis, assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and lead author of the study. "Stented vein grafts have a very high risk of re-narrowing sometimes up to 50 percent when bare metal stents are used.

"Drug-eluting stents could provide a solution to this problem, but limited clinical results have been reported to date. The drug-eluting stents examined in our study are coated with a medication called paclitaxel, which inhibits cell growth."

The drug coating is contained on a polymer that covers the surface of the stents and eventually elutes, or washes out of the stent, over a period of several months or years.

In the study, researchers examined 80 patients, roughly half of whom had vein grafts with drug-eluting stents and the other half who had the same proce
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Contact: Katherine Morales
katherine.morales@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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