After reports last week that drug-coated stents posed little risk to heart patients, a new survey shows that "patients given drug-coated stents after an acute heart attack are nearly five times more likely to die six months to two years later than those with bare metal forms of the arterial scaffolding." So says Reuters. Doctors at the European Society of Cardiology said the finding showed the need to be very selective about giving drug stents to the right patients.
The news agency also makes that point that a Swedish study presented on Sunday, involving 35,000 patients, found no overall increased risk for heart patients between drug and bare stents after four years of follow-up — a reversal of the same researchers’ earlier three-year findings that patients with coated stents were more at risk.
If this sounds confusing, it is because it is, even for doctors.
The two big drug stent companies, Boston Scientific (BSX) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), who have been hammered by medical research attacking the safety of their products disputed the new study, but support the one that makes them look good.
Douglas A. McIntyre