(RxWiki News) Over time, bare metal stents implanted to prop open clogged arteries can narrow as scar tissue forms prompting concerns about reduced blood flow. A novel treatment appears to aid patients by improving blood flow.
Inserting a drug-eluting balloon inside a previously implanted bare metal stent that has become narrowed has been found effective in restoring blood flow.
"Control your blood pressure and cholesterol to reduce your risk of clogged arteries."
Dr. Mariusz Zadura, lead researcher and senior cardiologist at the Heart and Diabetes Center of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Germany, said that the traditional approach of placing a metal drug-eluting stent inside an existing bare metal stent essentially creates a "metal sandwich."
She noted that using drug-eluting balloons to widen clogged arteries can reduce the body's reaction to placement of a bare metal stent in an artery because the biodegradable balloon coating appears to create less of an immune reaction.
Researchers compared the responses of 84 patients who had a procedure to reopen bare metal stents and restore blood flow with drug-eluting balloons coated with the drug paclitaxel. The patients were an average age of 68, and had 91 narrowed areas that were treated.
Between six and nine months later, 85 of the narrowed artery areas remained open. In six of the stents there were new narrowed areas, but only three patients needed an additional procedure.
There is a higher risk of additional blood clots over the six to eight week period during which drug-eluting stents release their medication. However, patient's bodies are generally more willing to accept the drug-eluting stents since they are less likely to view them as foreign. Patients also have a tendency to have milder reactions to the actual stent placement.
“We consider the drug-eluting balloon technique the best option for in-stent restenosis in clinical practice,” noted Dr. Zadura.
In a separate clinical study also presented today. Dr. Zadura found that drug-coated balloons may reduce the chance of bleeding complications among high-risk patients. The main benefit was the reduction in the time that anti-platelet therapy is needed -- down from one year to one month.
The research was presented today at the American Heart Association's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.