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A Journal on Heart and Vascular Diseases

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Angiology and Vascular Pathology
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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2006 February;54(1):5-22


language: English

Current drug-eluting stents in complex pa-tients and lesions

Elezi S. 1, Dibra A. 1, Schömig A. 1, 2, Kastrati A. 1

1 Deutsches Herzzentrum, Munich, Germany 2 First Medizinische Klinik rechts der Isav, Technische Universität, Munich, Germany


Drug-eluting stents (DES) are playing an increasingly important role in the treatment of coronary artery disease. These new devices work by releasing controlled amounts of pharmacological agents with antirestenotic properties at the implantation site. Most of them use polymer coating as a drug carrier, but concerns about long-term negative effects of a permanent polymer coating have stimulated the development of nonpolymer DES or DES based on bioabsorbable polymers. Several randomized studies with DES have demonstrated their superiority over bare metal stents mostly in selected patients and lesion subsets. Accumulating evidence is showing significant differences in performance between currently used DES. These differences are more pronounced in complex, high-risk subsets of patients and lesions and should be considered during the process of DES selection for the individual patient. Interventional cardiologists have learned that patients who receive DES require a more prolonged antiplatelet therapy, but the optimal length and regimen are still unclear and further investigations are needed. Major advances in interventional cardiology have caused a dramatic shift away from aorto-coronary bypass surgery and an increase in the complexity of percutaneous coronary interventions. Observational and specifically designed randomized studies are currently addressing the issue of the role of DES in complex situations including in-stent restenosis, ostial and bifurcation lesions, chronic occlusions, small vessels, long lesions, saphenous vein grafts, multivessel disease, left main disease, acute myocardial infarction and diabetes mellitus. Although definitive answers are still to come from ongoing research, available data support the use of DES in most of these situations.

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