Drug Eluting Stents
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Drug-eluting stents are drug-coated cylindrical-shaped wire mesh devices that are used to prop open arteries. The drug-eluting stents work by propping open the clogged artery and then slowly releasing medication that works to keep scar tissue from forming around the device.
Unfortunately, these innovative medical devices are not without their risks. The drug that keeps the arteries from re-clogging can cause serious side-effects including blood clots, heart attack, and death. The American College of Cardiology estimates that 2,000 people die each year due to complications from drug-eluting stents.
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Study Review shows no benefit of stents in treatment of Coronary Artery Disease
A review of randomized, controlled drug trials revealed that using a drug-coated stent to treat stable coronary artery disease provided no additional benefit over standard medical care. Usage of beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, statins, and aspirin was found to be just as effective as a drug-eluting stent. An author of the review said that more than half of the patients were treated with a stent before attempting a traditional drug treatment.
According to the New York Times, theories suggest that the line of treatment can also reduce mortality by improving blood flow, yet the researchers found no evidence to support these thoughts.