ST. LOUIS: According to a study published in latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers reveal that the risk of a second stroke or fatality is higher in stroke patients undergoing a surgery for stent implantation to open an artery leading to the brain.
Compared to non-stented patients, 50% of those receiving stents underwent additional strokes or even death in a clinical trial comprising 450 patients.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke arrested patient enrollment on realizing that brain stenting turned out to be risky. A warning was issued to all doctors by the National Institutes of Health.
The findings of the study demonstrate that high-stroke-risk patients must limit themselves to standard of care comprising lifestyle changes and drug therapies that can decrease cholesterol, blood pressure, and clot risk.
Co-principal investigator and professor of radiology at Washington University Dr. Colin Derdeyn stated, “The complications on the stent side of the trial were higher than we expected. Further research may identify specific groups of patients who may benefit from these stents, but for now we seem to be able to save more lives by aggressively working to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.”
The study participants had a history of recent strokes associated with severe stenosis. Stenosis is an obstruction or narrowing of major arteries in the brain, which is implicated for 50,000 of the 795,000 annual stroke cases in the US.
Although all patients were administered anti-clotting agents as well as cholesterol and blood pressure lowering drugs, 50% were assigned to receive stents.
Nearly 15% patients who received stents developed a second stroke or were consumed by death within the first month after the procedure. Lesser then 6% patients who did not receive stents developed a second stroke or died.
One year into the study, the findings revealed that 21% patients with stents developed a second stroke or died in contrast to 12% patients in the control group.
According to researchers, stented patients demonstrated poor performance due to blood vessel damage during stent implantation, loosening of clots by stents, or blood clot formation on stents.