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Cardio-Vascular

Drug-Coated Stents Transform Heart Care

12 years, 9 months ago

55  0
Posted on Mar 09, 2005, 5 a.m. By Bill Freeman

ORLANDO, Fla. - New research comparing rival brands of drug-coated, tiny mesh tubes called stents finds they are equally excellent at keeping heart arteries open, and that one may be better for diabetics. These devices, which slowly leach medication into blood vessels to keep them from squeezing shut after procedures to remove blockages, have revolutionized heart care so much in the last few years that studies now are aimed at finding which ones work best for which patients

ORLANDO, Fla. - New research comparing rival brands of drug-coated, tiny mesh tubes called stents finds they are equally excellent at keeping heart arteries open, and that one may be better for diabetics.

These devices, which slowly leach medication into blood vessels to keep them from squeezing shut after procedures to remove blockages, have revolutionized heart care so much in the last few years that studies now are aimed at finding which ones work best for which patients &emdash; not whether they work at all.

They are vastly better than the plain old metal stents that were standard just a few years ago. Results on the new ones are so good that more and more patients are being successfully treated with them and avoiding a more drastic alternative &emdash; heart bypass surgery.

Two are on the market &emdash; Boston Scientific Corp.'s Taxus stent, and Cypher, made by Cordis Corp., a Johnson & Johnson company.

"Both devices have made remarkable progress" in treating heart disease, said Dr. Gregg Stone, a cardiologist at Columbia University Medical Center, who was not involved in the comparison studies.

New studies on stents were presented Sunday at an American College of Cardiology conference in Orlando. They showed that benefits apparently last for years, and that even very big blockages in very small vessels &emdash; some nearly two inches long &emdash; can be fixed with such stents, sometimes using overlapping ones. 

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