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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Newer Stents Pose Dangers, 2 Doctors Say - New York Times: "Newer Stents Pose Dangers, 2 Doctors Say
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Published: October 12, 2006
More than 2,000 patients are dying needlessly each year from the use of stents, the tiny metal devices that prop open heart arteries, according to an editorial published yesterday by a leading medical society.
The editorial is the latest salvo in a growing debate among doctors about the risks of fatal blood clotting and serious heart attacks associated with the latest generation of stents, which are drug-coated. The devices are sold by Boston Scientific and Johnson & Johnson. The drug coating is meant to reduce inflammation at the site of the stent, in hopes of preventing a recurrence of the arterial blockage that led to the insertion of the device.
The article, published as a guest editorial on the Web site of the American College of Cardiology, said patients faced a lower risk if treated with older, bare-metal stents that might work just as well in many cases.
Stents have become the preferred therapy for millions of Americans a year. And all stents carry some risk of clotting, particularly in the early days and weeks after insertion. The new focus of concern has involved the drug-coated stents and reports of clotting many months or even years after the devices are inserted. "


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