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AHRQ-Funded Study Finds Lower Risk of Death and Heart Attack in Patients With Drug-Coated Stent Implants Compared to Those With Bare Metal Stents
Date:3/28/2009

ROCKVILLE, Md., March 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Heart disease patients 65 and older who receive stents coated with medicine to prevent blockages are more likely to survive and less likely to suffer a heart attack than people fitted with stents not coated with medication, according to a new study supported by HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the American College of Cardiology's National Cardiovascular Data Registry.

The comparative effectiveness study of 262,700 Medicare patients who received stents - spring-like tubes to keep heart vessels open - is the largest ever to compare drug-coated stents with bare metal ones. It is being presented March 28 at the American College of Cardiology's 58th Annual Scientific Session in Orlando, Florida.

A team of researchers from Duke University, AHRQ and Kaiser Permanente found that, compared with patients who received bare metal stents, those fitted with stents coated with medication, called drug-eluting stents, had an 18 percent better survival rate over the 30-month study period and were 16 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack.

"The findings provide important new evidence for decision making by heart disease patients and their physicians," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. "These results should help resolve many lingering questions regarding the safety of drug-eluting stents in recent years."

HHS' Food and Drug Administration approved two stents coated with drugs in 2003 and 2004, but then issued precautionary advisories in 2006 after receiving scattered reports of blood clot formation, or thrombosis, and deaths. Subsequent clinical trials and other studies produced conflicting results.

The researchers in the AHRQ-funded study found that 16.5 percent of the patients implanted with bare metal stents died within 30 months of implantation, compared with 13.5 percent of those with
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SOURCE Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality
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