LOS ANGELES Over time, veins removed from the legs (saphenous veins) and attached to the heart to replace clogged coronary arteries tend to resemble old, sluggish drain pipes. In fact, within five to 10 years of coronary artery bypass surgery, half of all vein grafts become diseased to the point of requiring re-intervention either repeat open-heart surgery or balloon angioplasty with the insertion of a stent.
Stents can be inserted into a grafted vein or into a native coronary artery during a balloon angioplasty procedure. The balloon is used to open a plaque-clogged area, and the stent a tiny mesh tube is designed to function as a scaffold to keep the vessel open. But conventional bare-metal stents have been prone to the formation of scar tissue and subsequent re-narrowing.
Now a study conducted at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Cardiovascular Intervention Center confirms that newer generation stents that slowly release medication are far more effective than conventional stents in preventing the overgrowth of scar tissue, thereby reducing incidence of restenosis (re-narrowing), heart attack and death.
"There was a fourfold reduction in the incidence of restenosis with the medicated stents," said Raj Makkar, M.D., co-director of the Center, co-director of Interventional Cardiology Research at Cedars-Sinai, and senior author of an article describing the study in the November 2005 issue of Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions: Journal of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions.
Although earlier research found that drug-eluting stents reduced scar tissue formation and re-narrowing in native coronary arteries, the new study is one of very few to focus on drug-eluting stents used in saphenous vein grafts, which pose unique challenges for cardiologists specializing in interventional procedures.
Michael S. Lee, M.D., the article's first author and an interventional cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai, saPage: 1 2 Related medicine news :1
Contact: Sandy Van
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
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