Stents and surgery equally durable, safe: Study

Researchers said the option between inserting a stent and conducting surgery to clear an arterial blockage can now be based on what doctors think is best for their patient's care since the two procedures are equally safe and effective. Photo taken from UPI

A new research finds no difference between stents and surgery on the safety and efficacy to prevent strokes in patients with blocked arteries.

The second part of the ten-year-long study that measured the long-term effects of both treatments, concludes that doctors can choose any of the treatments for patients without worrying whether one is better than the other, reports UPI.

The study was conducted at 117 medical centers in the United States and Canada, coordinated by the Mayo Clinic, Rutgers University and the University of Alabama Birmingham in collaboration.

Both stents and surgery were found equally safe in phase 1 of the study, the Asymptomatic Carotid Trial, or ACT I, which was conducted over five years. Fewer strokes were recorded among patients who underwent surgery and fewer heart attacks among those who received stents.

"This second phase completes a story, and the results are very encouraging," said Dr Thomas Brott, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic.

"We have two safe procedures. We know now that they are very effective in the long run. Now the patient and the physician have the option to select surgery or stenting, based on that individual patient's medical condition and preferences," he added.

Phase 2 of the Carotid Revascularization Endarterectomy versus Stenting Trial (CREST), which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, included 2,502 participants who received either stents or had surgery to clear clogging in arteries and were followed up with every six months for 10 years.

No significant difference was found between the two groups. 11.8 percent of patients with stents and 9.9 percent of the surgery group had a heart attack while 6.9 percent of the stent group and 5.6 percent of the surgery group had a stroke in the decade after their procedures.

Moreover, on top of the relatively low risk for either health event, both groups' arteries re-narrowed at the same rate of about 1 percent every year.

"This very low rate shows these two procedures are safe and are also very durable in preventing stroke," Brott also said, adding that "Because Medicare-age patients with carotid narrowing are living longer, the durability of stenting and surgery will be reassuring to the patients and their families."


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