September 09, 2011
Jeffrey Katz, MD
Patients whose narrowed arteries put them at risk for a stroke have a better chance at avoiding stroke via medications rather than artery-opening stents, according to a study just published online by the New England Journal of Medicine. Furthermore, the authors of the study noted that while the risk of early stroke after stenting is high, the risk of stroke with aggressive drug therapy alone is lower than expected.
This finding should help doctors decide what to do. As it stands now, stents are appropriate for less than 10 percent of stroke patients, so unless better stents are developed, intracranial stenting is not a growth industry.