Patients who are treated with drug-eluting metal stents require daily aspirin and clopidogrel for at least one year, which can cause unwanted bleeding. An advantage for patients who receive a drug-coated balloon is that they only need to take such dual antiplatelet therapy for one month.
High-risk patients include those with mechanical prosthetic heart valves, atrial fibrillation and pulmonary embolism treated continuously within oral anticoagulants (warfarin or phenprocoumon).
The researchers followed 63 patients with de novo lesions (narrowed areas) being treated with drug-eluting balloons and after six to nine months they found no significant re-narrowing in 69 of 73 lesions. While four lesions showed a repeated narrowing, only two patients required a subsequent targeted revascularization.
"This is a major benefit, especially in elderly or non-compliant patients," Zadura said. "Due to the reduced need for dual platelet inhibition, drug-eluting balloons seem to be an interesting alternative."
Resembling tiny springs, bare metal stents are tubular scaffolds inserted into an obstructed artery to prop it open to help blood flow freely. Many patients with bare metal stents experience accelerated tissue growth in the artery lining after insertion, with re-blockage, often within the first six months.
Source: American Heart Association