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Drug-Eluting Stents Effective in Critical Leg Ischemia

Stents prevent amputations and relieve symptoms, with a low limb revascularization rate

THURSDAY, April 8 (HealthDay News) -- Balloon expandable drug-eluting stents (DES) are effective and safe in preventing major amputation and relieving symptoms in patients with below-the-knee critical leg ischemia, according to a study published in the April 13 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Andrew Feiring, M.D., of Columbia-St. Mary's Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wis., and colleagues treated 106 patients (118 limbs) with DES in a prospective, non-randomized trial.

There were no procedural deaths, and 96 percent of the patients were discharged within 24 hours. The researchers found that the three-year cumulative incidence of amputation was 6 percent ± 2 percent, survival was 71 percent ± 5 percent, and amputation-free-survival was 68 percent ± 5 percent. Also, only 12 percent of patients who died had a previous major amputation. The target limb revascularization rate was 15 percent.

"Treating below-the-knee critical limb ischemia with DES appears to be a safe and effective means of preventing major amputations and relieving symptoms. Procedural complications and revascularizations were low. Patients treated with DES have significantly fewer major amputations and higher survival rates than historic controls," the authors write.

One author disclosed serving as a consultant for Cordis, Johnson & Johnson.

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