Drug-coated stents used to prop open blocked arteries of the heart are as safe as simpler bare-metal stents in the long term, reports the New England Journal of Medicine.
In March last year, a study in Sweden reported that patients using drug-coated stents had an increased risk of stent thrombosis — blood clots forming on the exposed metal of the stent — between seven and 18 months after implantation.
The prestigious medical journal has now devoted its March 8 issue to drug-coated stent safety, publishing five studies, which reveal that there is no difference in the overall rates of death and heart attack in four years after the implant of the stent, though the studies differ in the detail.
“Drug-coated stents clearly reduce the occurrence of restenosis and the need for repeat interventions. Patients with simple obstructions in coronary arteries will continue to benefit as long as they continue to use blood-thinning medicines for at least a year, and longer if there are risk factors such as diabetes,” said Dr Ashok Seth, chairman and chief cardiologist, Max Devki Devi Heart and Vascular Institute.