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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

drug-eluting stents, after adjusting for population differences. They also found that 8.9 percent of the patients with bare metal stents suffered heart attacks during the period, compared with 7.5 percent of those with drug-eluting stents - a 16 percent higher rate. The researchers further found that patients fitted with drug-eluting stents in 2005 and 2006 had a lower risk of death than those given the stents in 2004.

"Some previous studies have suggested that drug-eluting stents are associated with an excess long-term death rate, whereas others have not," said the study's lead author, Pamela S. Douglas, M.D., Geller professor of medicine at Duke University.

The researchers found no significant differences in the percentages of drug-eluting and bare metal stent patients who required a repeat angioplasty or coronary artery bypass graft surgery (roughly 23 percent) and in the percentages of patients who suffered strokes or major bleeding (about 3 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively). The results were not affected by age, gender, race, ethnicity or other factors.

According to AHRQ's Art Sedrakyan, M.D., Ph.D., a co-author of the study, the better outcomes found for patients with drug-eluting stents may be at least partially explained because those patients are required to take blood-thinning drugs, such as clopidogrel, for a long time after their procedure. Patients who receive bare metal stents are usually prescribed blood-thinner medications for a shorter period of time and may take them less often. In addition, patients with drug-eluting stents may visit their doctors more often after hospital discharge and may receive prescriptions for drugs and therapies to lower their cholesterol levels and manage other heart conditions more often than patients who received bare metal stents.

The researchers based their study on data from the American College of Cardiology's National Cardiovascu
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SOURCE Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality
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