Covered Stents for Prevention of Restenosis: Experimental and Clinical Results with Different Stent Designs

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RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVESMetallic stents in small vessels go along with a significant risk of restenosis and reocclusion. Different models of stents and covering materials have been purported to prevent intraluminal neointimal proliferation by cover-based closure of the spaces in the wire mesh.METHODSTantalum stents covered with polyethylacrylate/polymethylmethacrylate (PEM) were implanted in the infrarenal aorta of six New Zealand white rabbits by aortotomy and compared with eight rabbits treated with uncovered tantalum stents. For deployment, covered and uncovered stents necessitated a 7-French (F) and 5-F sheath, respectively. In addition, nine human patients with arteriosclerotic lesions of the superficial femoral arteries (stenosis > 5 cm or total occlusion) were treated percutaneously with a Dacron-covered nitinol vascular stent via a 9-F sheath. Patients were followed for a mean of 13.5 months, and control angiography was performed after 6 months.RESULTSExperimental placement of the tantalum Wiktor stent was feasible technically in all cases. Five of six stents covered with PEM were occluded 3 days after placement despite the intravenous use of heparin and aspirin. In the group with uncovered stents, no area of stenosis greater than 10% was observed. There was a neointimal layer of 89 ± 68 μm around the stent wires. Stent placement was successful in all patients. In four patients, a hyperergic reaction occurred, resulting in noninfectious periarteriitis. This complication was treated successfully with nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs. The primary patency was 50%, and the secondary patency (after application of a second covered stent in two patients) was 63%.CONCLUSIONSThe uncovered stent induces little neointimal proliferation around the stent wires. The insertion of stents covered with PEM into the rabbit aorta was accompanied by a strong thrombotic reaction, despite sufficient anticoagulation. Dacron-covered nitinol stents showed a surprisingly high restenosis rate after 9 months of follow-up. Further research concerning the in vivo properties of new covering materials is mandatory before routine vascular clinical application.

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