(RxWiki News) Surgically inserting a stent to aid blood flow is an accepted practice for adults. It hasn't been considered a safe option for children under 15 months. New research suggests it is feasible and can be performed safely.
Coronary angioplasty, used to open narrowed arteries usually with an inflated balloon catheter, is often followed with insertion of a stent to prop the artery open. It's been considered risky in pediatric patients.
"Talk to a doctor about pediatric artery opening options."
Dr. András Bratincsák from Rady Children's Hospital said evidence from his study shows that stent implantation is reasonably safe for pediatric patients, including those under 15 months old, with coronary stenosis, which is less common in children though the condition can be congenital.
Previous studies indicated that in adults with reduced blood flow to the heart, stent implantation can reduce mortality. However the procedure had not been recommended for pediatric patients under the age of 15 months because of increased risk and difficulty in inserting a catheter into the heart before opening the artery and inserting the stent.
Researchers conducted a small retrospective review of seven children who had coronary angioplasty and placement of a stent between June 2006 and June 2010. There were fewer cases to examine because the procedure is not generally performed on very young children. Of those included, all were under the age of 18 and four were 15 months old or younger.
Investigators reviewed patient data including the underlying diagnosis and any other health conditions, the technique used to insert the catheter during angioplasty and the outcome.
In all cases stents were successfully placed in the right or left coronary arteries. The average time period where no medical intervention was needed following stent placement was 434 days.
The study is published in Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions, a journal of The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions.