Baptist Begins Using New FDA Approved Drug-Eluting Stents to Treat Blocked Coronary Arteries

Friday, April 25, 2003

Cardiologists at Baptist Medical Center will perform some of central Mississippi's first procedures using drug-eluting stents starting the week of April 28, 2003. Drug-eluting stents, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday, April 24, 2003, are used to treat patients with blockages in the coronary arteries. The device provides time-released medication to help prevent and/or inhibit re-blockage, or restenosis, of the coronary arteries.

"Development of stents was a significant milestone in the treatment of blocked coronary arteries, but the problem of restenosis has continued to be an issue," said Stephen H. Hindman, M.D. "Sirolimus-coated stents will deter the scar tissue from forming."

Each year 800,000 angioplasty procedures are performed in the United States to open clogged coronary arteries. In most cases, stents--small, metallic, mesh-like tubes--are implanted to support the plaque-damaged arterial walls after the blockage has been removed.

Approximately 15-30 percent of stented arteries re-block (restenosis) within the first year due to the build up of scar tissue within the stented segment. These patients must be treated again with a procedure such as repeat angioplasty or bypass surgery. Drug-eluting stents have been shown to reduce the restenosis rate by 80 percent.

Manufactured by Cordis Corporation, the CYPHER(TM) drug-eluting stent marries the drug sirolimus, a potent immunosuppressive medication, to a stainless steel stent using a proprietary polymer coating. The stent releases the medication into the abutting arterial tissue at a rate and dose determined to achieve optimal clinical results. The drug-eluting stent has been shown in clinical studies to significantly reduce the rate of re-blockage that occurs with existing stents.

"We have been waiting for new technology which will improve the quality of lives of patients suffering from clogged arteries. This is an important advancement for cardiologists in the treatment of coronary artery blockages. Patients who receive these devices will need fewer repeat operations," said Judy Henderson, RN, director of Baptist Cardiovascular Diagnostics.

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