MONDAY, Oct. 24, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Drug-eluting stents improved outcomes among patients who developed blockages in aging veins surgically grafted onto the heart, finds a study by researchers at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Compared to conventional bare metal stents, the drug-eluting stents -- which slowly release medication to prevent the overgrowth of scar tissue inside the stent -- significantly reduced rates of heart attack and repeat procedures, both signs of re-narrowing (restenosis) within the stent.
"There was a fourfold reduction in the incidence of restenosis with the medicated stents. At least over the short term, that's very encouraging," Dr. Raj Makkar, co-director of the Cardiovascular Intervention Center at Cedars Sinai, said in a prepared statement.
Researchers analyzed data from 223 patients who underwent a stenting procedure to restore blood flow through clogged vein grafts. Of those patients, 139 were treated with a drug-eluting stent, while 84 were treated with a bare metal stent.
At nine months follow-up, 4 percent of the patients treated with a drug-eluting stent had suffered a heart attack, compared to 20 percent of patients treated with a bare metal stent. Ten percent of patients in the drug-eluting stent group required a repeat procedure, compared to 37 percent of those treated with a bare metal stent.
Overall, the combined rates of heart attack, repeat procedure and death were 10 percent in the drug-eluting stent group and 37 percent in the bare metal stent group. The study appears in the November issue of Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions.
The Cedars Sinai team will continue to follow the patients to study whether the drug-eluting stents offer long-term benefits.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about stents.