In a new study by researchers from the University of Kentucky being claims to one day change the standard treatment for preventing blood clots during procedures so as to open up blocked arteries that feed the heart.
According to Dr. Steven Steinhubl, the co-chairman and senior author of the study that is to appear in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, has claimed that the drug 'Enoxaparin', that has been studied has the potential to become a standard treatment during the procedures of stent and angioplasty. Explaining that the current standard of care is to give patients unfractionated heparin, he however cautioned that more research is necessary to come to a definitive conclusion.
Steinhubl, an interventional cardiologist and researcher at UK's Linda and Jack Gill Heart Institute, said that while elective stent and angioplasty procedures to clear blocked arteries are generally safe, a small percentage of patients will experience significant bleeding due to the procedure that can increase the cost and duration of the hospital stay and, in rare instances, even cause death.
In the study, researchers examined Enoxaparin to determine if it is a safe and effective anti-clotting drug, carrying less risk for bleeding following the procedure than unfractionated heparin.
The study found that major bleeding was cut by more than half in patients receiving Enoxaparin. It also showed that doctors were much more likely to achieve the targeted level of blood thinning for their patients with Enoxaparin compared with unfractionated heparin.
"Bleeding following a stent placement or angioplasty is an event that is not only dangerous for patients, but also carries a financial burden for the health care industry as a whole," Steinhubl said. "Millions of these procedures are successfully performed at hospitals across the United States each year. It is important that we make what has become a relatively safe procedure even safer by finding a drug that will effectively prevent blood clots and not put patients at risk for unnecessary bleeding. This study, which was designed to test the safety of Enoxaparin, is one of the first steps we as cardiologists are taking to reach that goal."