Stent Studies Tied to Rapid Changes in Use

Fast dissemination of data may become main stimulus for change, experts say

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TUESDAY, July 28 (HealthDay News) -- Rapid dissemination of new data about the risks posed by drug-eluting stents led to an almost immediate decrease in the use of the stents, according to a new report.

Drug-eluting stents are coated with drugs meant to prevent re-narrowing of coronary arteries.

An analysis of patient registries showed that between January and September 2006, about 90 percent of people who had a type of heart attack called a non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction and underwent coronary stent implantation received drug-eluting stents.

That September, a number of studies presented at a European Society of Cardiology meeting said that the risk of blood clots was higher among people who received drug-eluting stents than among those who received bare-metal stents.

By the end of March 2007, the use of drug-eluting stents had declined to 67 percent and continued to drop to 58 percent by the start of 2008, the researchers found. Their study is published online in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

"There was a rapid change of practice patterns after these presentations in September 2006," the study's lead author, Dr. Matthew T. Roe, an associate professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center and the Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham, N.C., said in an American Heart Association news release. "To our knowledge, this was the most rapid change in practice patterns in cardiology. We presume it was because of rapid uptake of information."

The findings suggest that fast distribution of new information through media and scientific outlets could become the "predominant stimulus for change in practice in the future," Roe and his colleagues said.

Dr. Clyde W. Yancy, president of the American Heart Association, said in the news release that the study "demonstrates the dynamic shifts that are occurring in the distribution of medical information."

"The opportunity to widely share important findings that promptly impact practice is becoming a powerful tool to drive change," Yancy said. "The requirements for prompt but thorough peer review and nimble responsiveness to new data are evident. Managing this new health IT space will require focus, assessment and realignment."

More information

The Society for Vascular Surgery has more about angioplasty and stenting.

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