John S. Douglas Jr., MD, professor of medicine and Director of Interventional Cardiology at Emory University, presented findings showing the drug cilostazol reduces stent restenosis (the renarrowing of arteries following angioplasty) by 39.5 percent over standard therapy alone. "This study also showed that this beneficial effect occurred in patients with diabetes and small blood vessels, two important subgroups that are inherently more difficult to treat," says Dr. Douglas.
During angioplasty, the most commonly used procedure in the U.S. to treat potentially life-threatening coronary blockages, a balloon-tipped catheter pushes aside atherosclerotic plaques in arteries. Once the vessel has been widened, and adequate blood flow is returned, stents (tiny mesh wire tubes) are frequently used to keep arteries open. However, renarrowing has proved to be a frequent problem following angioplasty and stenting and affects 300,000 coronary stent recipients in the United States each year.
Patients who experience renarrowing (restenosis) may require additional angioplasty procedures, another stent or bypass surgery. For many patients, new drug-eluting stents (stents coated with a drug) offer a possible solution to restenosis, which has been called the "Achilles heel" of angioplasty. "However, current drug-eluting stents have limitations, are extremely costly, and have not been tested in complex lesions. Cilostazol, on the other hand, may indeed hold promise for a broad spectrum of patients at risk for restenosis. This is the most successful and safe oral agent we are aware of at this time. It can be administered via two simple pills a day," Dr. Douglas explains. "Its effectiveness in the diabetic patie
Contact: Sherry Baker
Emory University Health Sciences Center