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Published on May 22, 2013

Cone Health Cardiovascular Research Presented in Paris


Cone Health researchers find newer drug eluting stents far safer in heart attack patients than previous versions. They will unveil their findings, plus present a case study on a rare condition causing heart attacks in young women, at EuroPCR this week in Paris, France (May 21-24). The presentations are being given by Drs. Bruce Brodie and Tom Stuckey of LeBauer Cardiovascular Research Foundation.

Stents are small metallic devices placed in coronary arteries to open blockages due to plaque build-up and to improve blood flow to the heart muscle. They are often used in treating heart attack patients to open a totally blocked artery. While they are effective, scar tissue can form inside the stents causing re-narrowing leading to further problems. Drug coated stents were developed to reduce scar tissue formation, but these stents occasionally develop late complications.

This study followed 3,464 heart attack patients from Cone Health Heart and Vascular Center and the Minneapolis Heart Institute from 2003 through 2011. It found that patients treated with the latest generation drug coated stents had a much lower rate of stent thrombosis, an uncommon but serious and sometimes fatal condition in which a blood clot forms within the stent months or years after the initial stent implant. The authors say the latest stents “offer a new paradigm for safety” and called for further studies to verify their findings.

“Drug eluting stents have always held so much promise,” says Brodie. “We are finding that these stents are finally living up to the promise with big benefits to heart patients everywhere.”

Stuckey will review several cases of women treated at Cone Health who have experienced spontaneous coronary dissection. This rare condition occurs when the layers of tissue in a coronary artery “spontaneously” tear and separate, usually resulting in a heart attack. This is most common in young women, often happening after childbirth. Stuckey and other physicians at The Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital are studying a small number of these cases to better understand what causes this problem and to learn the best ways to treat these patients.

“Cone Health Heart and Vascular Center has long had a culture of quality and innovation,” says Heart and Vascular Center Vice President Rich Lundy. “It is terrific to bring this knowledge to our patients as well as sharing it with the world.”

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