A Topeka hospital recently became one of the first in the country to use the newest type of drug-eluting stent.
The FDA approved the Xience stent July 2nd. Stormont-Vail's Dr. Jack Jones, an interventional cardiologist, successfully used it just days later. He says it seems to be safe and effective.
A stent is a mesh tube implanted to hold open a blocked artery. The first were bare metal and carried a risk of the artery renarrowing with scar tissue. Dr. Jone says doctors work to prevent renarrowing because it can lead to a recurrence of symptoms and even a heart attack.
The concern led to the development of drug-eluting stents. They are coated with a medicine that reduces the risk of renarrowing, but Dr. Jones says they carried a risk of closing off abruptly. He says the problem was also seen with the older, bare metal stents, but it would happen with the first few days or weeks, when a patient was under closer watch. With the drug-eluting stents, he says, it was happening occasionally after a longer period of time.
Dr. Jones says the Xience stent is coated with a different type of medicine that, when compared head to head with the first drug-eluting stents, reduces how often those problems occur. One study showed Xience had a 45-percent reduced risk of major adverse cardiac events two years after it was implanted versus the earlier drug-eluting stent.
With results like that, Dr. Jones sees it perhaps becoming the stent of choice. As for Stormont being among the first to offer it, Dr. Jones says it's nice to have access to the newest and best equipment and techniques.
Patients who receive the new stent can elect to enter a study, where they'll be followed for five years. Dr. Jones says that will give a good picture of the long-term results the stent can achieve.
Drug-eluting stents still aren't for everyone. Dr. Jones says patients must be able to take aspirin and the blood-thinner Plavix for a year following the procedure. The drug-eluting stents also aren't available in very small or very large sizes.