Stent choice in primary percutaneous coronary intervention: drug-eluting stents or bare metal stents?


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Abstract

The controversial choice between bare metal stents and drug-eluting stents (DES) in primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) seems to be driven by a growing body of evidence. Although evidence supporting the use of DES in the setting of ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) has been demonstrated, including a lower target vessel revascularization (TVR) rate without increased mortality, at present the proportion of DES implants in STEMI patients is low. This may be due to higher costs of DES, cultural issues, lack of concerns about restenosis in STEMI, lack of information on patient bleeding risk and the need for surgery within a limited time. In addition, initial enthusiasm about the efficacy of DES in reducing restenosis is now decreasing as a result of the safety concerns regarding in-stent thrombosis. Moreover, DES requires long-term dual antiplatelet therapy (DAT), which may pose problems in patients prone to bleeding or in candidates for elective surgery. Nevertheless, benefits associated with use of DES include significantly lower TVR rates without remarkable adverse effects in terms of death and myocardial infarction. Data about the efficacy of DES are still limited to 1-year follow-up in most trials. Uncoated stents permit early arterial wall healing, requiring a shorter duration of DAT and are potentially associated with a reduced risk of thrombus formation at long-term follow-up. Importantly, however, this potential late threat has not been confirmed in recent data from the limited number of studies with longer than 2-years follow-up. Anatomical features and individual risk profiles can sometimes help in the choice of the most suitable type of stent. In conclusion, stent choice in primary PCI cannot be standardized for all patients and appears to be influenced by various factors that need to be considered to provide better revascularization in terms of both efficacy and safety.

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