A new-generation, drug-coated stent, used for the first time in the city last Wednesday in a multiple-speciality hospital on the EM Bypass, promises to bring down costs for treatment of coronary blockage “substantially”.
Interventional cardiologists Sunil Lhila and Aftab Khan implanted the drug-coated stent, Taxus, at the Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals on a 58-year-old coronary artery disease (CAD) patient. “The stent will be available at special prices, appreciably less than that of other drug-coated stents in the market at present,” promised Lhila, coordinator in-charge of cardiology, Apollo Gleneagles.
Stents are scaffolding-like metal stems used in balloon angioplasty procedures to keep the arteries open. Calcutta’s first recipient of the revolutionary Taxus, manufactured by Boston Scientific Corp, US, had a bypass surgery done three months ago at another centre, and the procedure saved him the torment and expenditure of a re-do surgery after the problem recurred.
“One of his grafts to the main artery got occluded and we performed the angioplasty, putting the Taxus stent in his artery, thereby avoiding the re-do bypass surgery the patient was staring at,” explained Lhila. The drug, Paclitaxel, which is coated on the newer-generation Express II stent, is “unique” in preventing restenosis seen after coronary angioplasty because of its anti-proliferative qualities, feel the cardiac surgeons.
Restenosis is fresh cell growth around the implanted stent in the vessel, causing a recurrence of the block, which in turn necessitates a repeat of the angioplasty. With conventional stents, this is quite common, but doctors feel with the advent of drug-coated stents, this problem can be avoided. Taxus, launched in India on March 14, has recorded “tremendous response”, according to Lhila.
“When this patient walked in, he was extremely unstable and could barely walk two steps without getting angina (chest pain). After we opened the blocked artery and implanted the drug-coated stent, he is now stable and can soon get back to normal activities,” said Khan.