馃拪 What are the differences between a drug-eluting coronary stent and a bare-metal stent?

馃巿 Also known as DES, we explore the differences here.

4/24/20242 min read

馃拪 What are the differences between a drug-eluting coronary stent and a bare-metal stent?

Stents are expandable metal meshes, fully compatible with the body's tissues, that allow for the unblocking of arteries. In cardiology, we frequently use them for coronary arteries, but there are also stents for cerebral arteries and larger arteries such as the iliac or even the aorta (in the latter case, they are called endoprostheses).

The first generations of stents, also known as bare metal stents, were a revolution in cardiology in the 1980s. Now, it was possible to prevent a heart attack without resorting to coronary bypass surgery. These stents have evolved, and today they still work very well. However, the tissue in the arteries can grow and cause short- and long-term obstructions called restenosis. This tissue overgrowth was mitigated with the advent of drug-eluting stents.

Drug-eluting stents are an evolution of these devices that emerged in the late 1990s. The drugs they incorporate (Sirolimus, Paclitaxel, and the most modern ones, Zotarolimus and Everolimus) are called antiproliferatives. Their function is to reduce the possibility of restenosis or artery obstruction due to the overgrowth of arterial tissue from within.

Today, most indications recommend drug-eluting stents. However, there are many situations where their performance is similar. This decision should be made by the treating physician. A drug-eluting stent is not always superior to a bare-metal stent.

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