|New research seems to show drug-releasing tubes inserted into blocked coronary arteries can prevent new blockages.
Many heart patients with blocked coronary arteries undergo a procedure called a percutaneous coronary intervention, or PCI, to open the affected artery.
Cardiologists implant a tube called a stent to keep the artery open, and some of these tubes can release medication.
A recent Swiss study examined the effectiveness of these medication-releasing, or drug-eluting, stents.
Dr. Stephan Windecker from Bern University Hospital: "There were concerns these drug-eluting stents may lead to adverse events, such as occlusion of the artery with blood clots."
Dr. Windecker and his co-authors conducted a study involving 1100 patients who underwent emergency cardiac catheterization.
About half got a bare-metal stent, and the other half got a drug-eluting stent with a biodegradable polymer.
Windecker says the drug-eluting stents worked well.
Windecker: "The drug-eluting stent was more effective in preventing new blockages within the treated segment. The occurrence of new heart attacks within that treated segment was slower with the biodegradable polymer, as compared to the bare-metal stent."
The study's findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
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