These Stents are Safe in Kidney Patients

Drug eluting stents for kidney disease patients reduce the risk of heart attack

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Stents are tubes that are used to treat narrowed or weakened arteries. In many cases, they can be lifesaving. But are some types of stents safer than others?

Drug-eluting stents (stents that are coated in medicine) are safer than bare-metal stents (uncoated stents) in older patients with kidney disease. Patients treated with drug-eluting stents had lower rates of heart attack and death, compared to those with bare-metal stents.

"Drug-eluting stents are safe."

Drug-eluting stents have been associated with death and heart attack, but there is not much information on the outcomes of older kidney disease patients being treated with stents. Thomas Tsai, M.D., M.Sc., from the Denver VA Medical Center, and colleagues conducted a study to see how older patients fared after being treated with drug-eluting stents compared to bare-metal stents.

They found that drug-eluting stents appear to be safe, regardless of a patient's level of kidney function.

For their study, Dr. Tsai and his colleagues looked at 283,593 kidney disease patients who received stents between 2004 and 2007. All of the participants were 65 years of age and older.

Compared to patients who received bare-metal stents, patients with normal kidney function who received a drug-eluting stent had a lower risk of revascularization (a surgery to fix blood flow to a body part or organ), heart attack, and death.

Regardless of a patient's kidney function, drug-eluting stents were associated with lower rates of heart attack and death. The only exception was among patients on long-term dialysis: drug-eluting stents did not reduce this group's risk of heart attack.

The authors conclude that drug-eluting stents are safe in addition to reducing the risk of heart attack and death in older kidney disease patients.

The study appears in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 18, 2011
Last Updated:
October 18, 2011