Drug-Coated Stents Can Keep Leg Arteries Clear

They may work equally well in lower, upper body, study finds

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WEDNESDAY, Nov. 15, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Drug-coated stents, the tiny mesh tubes that surgeons use to prop open arteries in the upper body, may also help restore and maintain blood flow to the lower legs, a small new study finds.

It can be difficult to treat clogged arteries in the lower leg because the arteries are smaller and can have a heavy buildup of fatty plaque. After treatment to remove plaque, the arteries often re-clog (restenosis), according to background information in the article.

The one-year study of 10 patients concluded that drug-coated (drug-eluting) stents may be a safe and effective way to restore and maintain blood flow through tiny clogged vessels in the lower legs.

The study, to be presented Wednesday at the American Heart Association's meeting in Chicago, found that drug-coated stents prevented restenosis in 90 percent of the patients.

"(Restenosis) is a very common problem that is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. It is something that we need to do a better job of treating. This is an exciting first step toward getting some answers to a difficult problem," study lead author Dr. Arthur G. Grant, an interventional cardiology fellow at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, said in a prepared statement.

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about stents.

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Nov. 15, 2006

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