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SIR: Drug-Eluting Stents Save Limbs in Critical Limb Ischemia

Last Updated: March 16, 2010.

In patients with critical limb ischemia, implantation of drug-eluting stents to treat a suboptimal angioplasty in an infrapopliteal artery may be a safe and effective therapy, according to research presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society of Interventional Radiology, held from March 13 to 18 in Tampa, Fla.

TUESDAY, March 16 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with critical limb ischemia, implantation of drug-eluting stents to treat a suboptimal angioplasty in an infrapopliteal artery may be a safe and effective therapy, according to research presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society of Interventional Radiology, held from March 13 to 18 in Tampa, Fla.

Robert A. Lookstein, M.D., of Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues studied 53 patients aged 43 to 93 who underwent implantation of 94 drug-eluting stents (80 sirolimus, 12 evirolimus, and two paclitaxel), and followed them for a mean of 17 months.

At 12 months, the researchers found that 45 patients (81.8 percent) had primary patency. At follow-up, they found that 48 patients (90.6 percent) were free from major amputation and that 44 patients with Rutherford category four and five disease (100 percent) were free from major amputation. Thirty-day mortality was 1.9 percent and overall mortality was 22.6 percent.

"Drug-eluting stents are an emerging technology that offers hope to peripheral arterial disease patients with critical limb ischemia and freedom from major amputations," Lookstein said in a statement. "The placement of drug-eluting stents in the infrapopliteal leg arteries is safe and effective and can significantly impact their care. Our results rival bypass surgery and are better than balloon angioplasty alone."

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