The placement of drug-eluting stents decreases the frequency of repeat revascularization procedures in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in randomized clinical trials. However, there is uncertainty about the effectiveness of drug-eluting stents, and increasing concern about their safety, in routine clinical practice.
From the Cardiac Care Network of Ontario’s population-based clinical registry of all patients undergoing PCI in Ontario, Canada, we identified a well-balanced cohort of 3,751 pairs of patients, matched on the basis of propensity score, who received either bare-metal stents alone or drug-eluting stents alone during an index PCI procedure between December 1, 2003 and March 31, 2005. The primary outcomes of the study were the rates of target-vessel revascularization, myocardial infarction, and death.
The two-year rate of target-vessel revascularization was significantly lower among patients who received drug-eluting stents than among those who received bare-metal stents (7.4% vs. 10.7%, P<0.001). Drug-eluting stents were associated with significant reductions in the rate of target-vessel revascularization among patients with two or three risk factors for restenosis (i.e., presence of diabetes, small vessels [<3 mm in diameter], and long lesions [≥20 mm]) but not among lower-risk patients. The three-year mortality rate was significantly higher in the bare-metal–stent group than in the drugeluting–stent group (7.8% vs. 5.5%, P<0.001), whereas the two-year rate of myocardial infarction was similar in the two groups (5.2% and 5.7%, respectively; P = 0.95).
Drug-eluting stents are effective in reducing the need for target-vessel revascularization in patients at highest risk for restenosis, without a significantly increased rate of death or myocardial infarction.