A new type of stent that releases medication appears safe and effective for preventing arteries from reclosing in coronary heart disease patients, a process known as restenosis. The experimental stent, a mesh tube, releases the immunosuppressant drug everolimus. The drug acts by inhibiting cell reproduction and reducing cell growth in vessel walls. Unlike other similar drug-eluting stents, the one used in this study is made with a biodegradable polymer researchers believe will reduce and minimize long-term inflammation and restenosis.
This unique everolimus-coated stent freezes the biological process that leads to the renarrowing of arteries after catheter-based treatments. Not only are the patients free from symptoms, but they have open arteries 12 months after stent implantation. Results of the study show patients who received the everolimus-coated stents had 87-percent less narrowing in the treated portion of their arteries than those who received uncoated, or bare-metal, stents.
Of the 42 patients in the study, 27 received the new stents and 15 received standard stents. Standard stents have metal mesh tubes used to keep vessels open after balloon angioplasty opens the clogged artery. Everolimus also has promise in preventing heart and kidney rejection after transplantation.