According to a new study, researchers have observed that patients who took aspirin and anti-clotting drugs for a year after angioplasty had a decreased risk of problems. Angioplasty involves inserting a balloon and then a device called a stent into a blocked coronary artery. It's often life-saving, for it opens up the artery again. However, one complication that often occurs when such percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs) take place is clotting.
Previous research has shown the advantage of tackling the clotting problem with aspirin and anti-clotting drugs given for a few weeks after the PCI. A new study now shows that giving the combination therapy for a whole year gives even better results.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina studied a group of over 1,500 patients receiving either the anti-clotting drug clopidogrel or placebo for a year after PCI. All of them also received aspirin. At the end of the study, there were significantly fewer adverse events, such as heart attack, clotting or need for further intervention, in the clopidogrel group. Researchers feel that what was less clear was the benefit of giving the drug before PCI as well - but it seems likely that this will help at least some patients.