A new study shows drug-emitting stents are effective at keeping arteries open in even the most complex of patients. Researchers looked at stents coated with the drug sirolimus. It is an immunosuppressive agent. The goal when used in heart patients is to prevent the artery from closing again.
Stents are used to prop open an artery and doctors say they have been very useful. However, in 30 percent of patients with diabetes, small coronary blood vessels, and long lesions, the area that was treated closes up again. For the last 20 years, doctors have been working to devise medications to prevent the problem from recurring. This new study looked at a drug-coated stent in patients with more challenging cardiac problems.
The study, included 53 medical centers in the United States. More than 1,000 patients received either a sirolimus-coated stent or a standard stent. The researchers report the rate of the artery re-closing with the use of the sirolimus stent was reduced from 21 percent to 8.5 percent.
Researchers say, "In this randomized clinical trial involving patients with complex coronary lesions, the use of a sirolimus-eluting stent had a consistent treatment effect." Both future blockages and other medical problems were avoided. Investigators suggest the results show both improved effectiveness and safety and perhaps they will alter the future of coronary treatments.