Drug-eluting Stents Safer than Bare-metal Stents for Coronary Bypass

January 26, 2009
Todd Kunkler

Researchers have found that "coronary bypass surgery may carry less risk of serious complications if stents coated with a drug that suppresses cell growth are used in the procedure rather than bare-metal stents."

Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have found that “coronary bypass surgery may carry less risk of serious complications if stents coated with a drug that suppresses cell growth are used in the procedure rather than bare-metal stents.”

According to a UT Southwestern news release, Emmanouil S. Brilakis, MD, PhD, assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern, and colleagues examined 80 patients who had undergone coronary bypass surgery, half of whom received vein grafts with drug-eluting stents and the other half who had grafts with bare-metal stents.

“We wanted to see if one type of stent was superior in reducing the incidence of re-narrowing of the vein graft,” said Brilakis. “Stented vein grafts have a very high risk of re-narrowing—sometimes up to 50 percent when bare metal stents are used. Drug-eluting stents could provide a solution to this problem, but limited clinical results have been reported to date. The drug-eluting stents examined in our study are coated with a medication called paclitaxel, which inhibits cell growth.”

Brilakis and his team “found that 51 percent of patients with the bare-metal stent had re-narrowing of the vein graft over several months compared with 9 percent of the drug-eluting stent group. In addition, 28 percent of patients who had a bare-metal stent required another procedure to treat the same blockage, while only 5 percent of patients who had the drug-eluting stent did.”

“Our findings suggest that drug-eluting stents are a better choice than bare-metal stents for this type of procedure,” Brilakis said. “Patients receiving paclitaxel-eluting stents in our study were significantly less likely to have recurrence of their graft blockage and to require repeat procedures. The rates of death were similar in both study groups, although our study was not designed to detect differences in mortality.”

The full-text version of the study, which will soon be published in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, is available here.

Learn more about the Stenting of Saphenous Vein Grafts trial here.

Click here for information about Boston Scientific’s TAXUS Express 2 Coronary Stent System.