Harvard Heart Letter

Blood clots a late hazard for drug-coated stents

The benefits of drug-coated stents come with a price — long-term use of clot-preventing drugs.

When the first drug-coated stent earned FDA approval in 2003, it was hailed as a revolution in treating cholesterol-clogged arteries. These tiny, drug-releasing cages solved a problem linked with their bare-metal precursors: a vexing renarrowing of the artery. But their wide use is showing that they can create problems of their own. One that's gaining attention is the sudden appearance of blood clots that can completely block a stent months after implantation, often causing a heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest.

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