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Why should a stent elute drug ?

Posted Dec 20 2008 7:17pm

S tents are mechanical  devices like  a  spring ,  used to  keep an artery open after a PTCA or PCI.

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                                Bare metal stents(BMS) were found to have restenois rate of about 25%.  So it was perceived a stent should have it’s own protective coat , so that it won’t get restenosed.For this the researchers thought  anti cancer drugs are ideal as they block cell proliferation and thus neovascualrisation and restenosis. Alas, they were found dismally wrong ,  after all , neointiaml proliferation is only a part of the problem of restenosis  and simple blocking of cell growth is insufficient . The issue doesn’t stop with that, the anti cancer drugs incorporated within the stent simply can not differentiate normal from abnormal cells and

DES effectively blocks the normal endothelisation over the stents and make this highly vulnerable for acute stent thrombosis .

This complication is unique to DES and can result in SCD.Further ,during the last 6 years of DES , we recognised the restenosis rate has increased form the much hyped O % to almost 15% and it’s still growing . These  complications  has made a huge question mark over the future of drug eluting stents !

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The concept of DES may not die , but which drug it should elute should be answered ! This  again is  going to be a long battle. So it is currently   adviced,  based  on common sense ( With due respects to  those RCTs  funded by industry )

Whenever you encounter a block within the coronary artery* Ask the following  questions in sequence  ,

  • Whether we can leave it alone  with medical therapy  ,  if the answer is no, proceed  to the next step !
  • Is there a possibility for plain balloon angioplasty in a given vessel (POBA, Yes !  the concept is not dead yet !)
  • If you decide a stent is required , Will  the  bare metal  do the job ?
  • In multivessel CAD  , Did the issue of increased metal load on the  long term outcome was considered ?
  • If lesions appear complex,   should we  not strongly consider CABG as an option ?

However  if we  have the habit of  ask ing the following  question  you are likely to deviate from scientific approach  

Is it possible to put a stent  across  the block ?

Yes , will be the answer most of the time, and the patient will invariably get one or more stents  and carry a life long  stent related problems.

*The rule does not apply in Acute coronary syndromes

Also read this letter  posted by the author published in  British medical journal

      
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