Drug-Coated Stents

Two studies published in 2006 revealed that patients who receive a drug-coated stent after an angioplasty are at a higher risk of blood clots and may be much more likely to die than patients who receive a bare metal stent.

Drug-coated stents were first released in 2003 as a way to prop open clogged arteries after an angioplasty.

There are currently two brands on the market in the U.S.: Cypher (Johnson & Johnson) and Taxus (Boston Scientific).
Patients were five times more likely to suffer blood clots than with bare metal stents

Drug-coated stents initially became popular with doctors for their ability to keep arteries from re-clogging. Sales of drug-coated stents accounted for about 85% of the domestic market in 2005.

However, doctors began to reconsider the safety of drug-coated stents in 2006 after a Swiss study found that patients were twice as likely to suffer blood clots with drug-coated stents compared with the bare metal variety.

These findings prompted scientists at the Cleveland Clinic to conduct their own larger analysis of the health risks of drug-coated stents. Combining the results of 14 separate studies of drug-coated stents, researchers found that patients were five times more likely to suffer blood clots than with bare metal stents.

Doctors estimated that patients have a 3-4% risk of blood clots for as long as several years after receiving a drug-coated stent implant.

As a result of these findings, many doctors have switched back to using bare metal stents to avoid the clot risk of drug-coated stents. Several scientific groups have stated that patients who are implanted with a drug-coated stents will need to remain on blood thinners such as Plavix for at least a year after surgery—and perhaps indefinitely—in order to prevent a heart attack or the formation of potentially deadly blood clots.

Patients who stop taking their blood thinning medications are almost 11 times more likely to die than those who remain on the drugs.

If you have suffered blood clots, heart attack, stroke or other health problems after receiving a drug-coated stent, contact the law office of Hissey Kientz to learn more about what you can do to protect your legal rights. You can reach us by calling toll-free at (866) 275-4454, or by filling out the free case evaluation form to the right of this page.

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