Heart Beat: 11/08
A Cleveland Clinic study found that drug-eluting stents (DES) were associated with a 38 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality, compared with bare-metal stents. The study, published in the Sept. 23 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and led by Mehdi Shishehbor, MD, found that among the more than 6,000 patients followed for four-and-a-half years, the threat of stent thrombosis (the formation of a blood clot within a stent) with DES did not translate into higher mortality rates for those patients. Researchers acknowledged that the results may be partially swayed by the likelihood that patients with extensive comorbidities, terminal illness and low socioeconomic status often receive bare-metal stents. Also, patients with a history of noncompliance to their medication regimen often don’t have DES implanted because of doctors’ concerns about their stopping antiplatelet therapy—a necessary part of the treatment plan with DES patients. Patients with DES are put on a regimen of antiplatelet medications after implantation to help prevent stent thrombosis.