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AHA Issues Advisory on Drug-Eluting Stents

Dual antiplatelet therapy should last 12 months and elective surgery deferred for one year

TUESDAY, Jan. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who have been treated with drug-eluting stents should continue treatment with dual antiplatelet therapy with aspirin and a thienopyridine for 12 months, according to an advisory published online Jan. 16 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. The American Heart Association (AHA) advisory also recommends that elective surgery be postponed for one year after placement of a drug-eluting stent, and that bare metal stents be used in patients who need to have additional surgery in that year.

Cindy L. Grines, M.D., and colleagues warn that patients and health care providers often fail to maintain therapy for a year, and may not understand the importance of maintenance. Physicians should avoid the use of drug-eluting stents in patients who show signs of not complying with a 12-month course of treatment, the advisory states.

"The health care industry, insurers, the U.S. Congress and the pharmaceutical industry should ensure that issues such as drug cost do not cause patients to prematurely discontinue thienopyridine therapy and to thus incur catastrophic cardiovascular complications," the report states.

If surgery cannot be deferred, physicians should consider "the continuation of aspirin during the perioperative period in high-risk patients with drug-eluting stents," the authors write.

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