To provide an introduction to coronary artery stents and their pharmacologic management, including anticoagulant therapy and newer antiplatelet regimens.
A MEDLINE and current journal search of relevant articles that evaluated coronary stent success rates and anticoagulation or antiplatelet regimens.
Data from the use of primarily the Palmaz-Schatz stent were included. Studies using vitamin K antagonists that are not commercially available in the US were excluded unless they compared an antiplatelet regimen with anticoagulation using the international normalized ratio (INR).
Limitations with percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA), such as ischemic complications and restenosis, have led to the advent of intracoronary stenting. However, the placement of a stent within the coronary artery lumen is associated with a risk of thrombotic events. Despite current postprocedural anticoagulation and antiplatelet regimens, thrombosis occurs at rates ranging from 0.6% to 21%. When anticoagulation is deemed appropriate, it should be used for 1–2 months and the INR should be maintained between 2 and 3.5. Anticoagulation appears to have no effect on the development of restenosis, but has been shown to cause significant hemorrhagic events in 5–13.5% of patients. Newer data continue to define the subsets of patients who may be managed with antiplatelet agents alone. Combinations of aspirin and ticlopidine or aspirin alone may be used to manage patients who fulfill the following criteria: optimal stent placement, high-pressure inflation, and adequate coronary size.
Coronary artery stenting is a novel approach for the management of coronary artery disease, but is associated with the complication of stent thrombosis. Anticoagulation reduces the risk of stent thrombosis, but is associated with bleeding risk. Selected patients may be successfully managed with antiplatelet agents only. More data are needed to better define the optimal antithrombotic regimen.
- Mauro, Laurie S
- Borovicka, Mary C
- Kline, Sandra S
- ANNALS OF PHARMACOTHERAPY Journal
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