Unnecessary Deaths Associated With Drug-Coated Stents
About 2,160 U.S. patients annually die unnecessarily from the use of drug-coated stents, according to a guest editorial published Wednesday on the Web site of the American College of Cardiology, the New York Times reports. The editorial represents "the latest salvo in a growing debate among doctors about the risks of fatal blood clotting and serious heart attacks associated" with drug-coated stents "many months or even years after the devices are inserted," the Times reports.
According to the editorial, written by Sanjay Kaul and George Diamond of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, patients who receive traditional bare-metal stents have a lower risk for blood clots than those who receive drug-coated stents. Research indicates that drug-coated stents increase risk for blood clots by 0.6% annually compared with bare-metal stents, Kaul said in an interview.
The editorial states that at least 80% of more than one million U.S. patients who receive stents annually receive drug-coated stents. Kaul said that drug-coated stents are the appropriate medical treatment for only 20% of patients who receive the devices (Feder, New York Times, 10/12).