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The Endeavor Drug-Eluting Stent

The world of medicine is constantly bringing us new, exciting discoveries; and the 2008 FDA approval of the Endeavor Drug-Eluting Stent is yet another amazing advancement. The device has so far proven to be quite effective in helping heart patients with narrowed coronary arteries.

The Endeavor stent itself represents a new step in treating coronaries. In essence, it acts as "scaffolding" that holds the blood vessel open.

Patients who are candidates for the Endeavor Drug-Eluting Stent undergo an angioplasty procedure in order to have it implanted. During this procedure, the device is inserted through a catheter. It includes a mesh tube surrounding a small balloon. Once the stent has reached its destination, the balloon is inflated, which expands that metal mesh right into the wall of the vessel. As it expands, so too, does the coronary.

One of the unique things about the Endeavor stent is that it is coated with a medication called Zotarolimus. Over the course of time, the drug is slowly released into the body. It actually prevents the artery from shrinking back down when new tissue forms. Because it helps prevent the re-narrowing of the blood vessel, it reduces the likelihood of needing a follow-up angioplasty. This is significant, as some patients have to undergo angioplasty procedures every year. In order to help decrease further complications after the stent is implanted, patients often take blood-thinning medications for six to twelve months.

Drug-eluting stents have advantages over regular metal stents. One of the most beneficial is that the medicine inhibits the growth of scar tissue that naturally occurs around a stent. This scar tissue would act to narrow the artery, which is the very problem the stent seeks to solve. An added advantage of the Endeavor Drug-Eluting Stent is that it is extremely flexible. This allows the stent to be implanted in areas that other stents might not be able to go.

It is possible that a drug-eluting stent can lead to a higher risk of thrombosis (a blood clot), but the research is inconclusive. This is why doctors take the precaution of prescribing blood thinners.

Patients considering whether or not a stent is the right choice should ask their doctors the following:
  • Is the artery blockage severe?
  • What if I choose not to get treatment?
  • What types of treatments are available?
  • What are the benefits and risks of each treatment?
  • Is a drug-eluting stent superior to a bare metal stent in my situation?
  • How do I care for my health after receiving a stent?
As with any medical procedure, it is important to weigh out all of the options when determining whether or not to use a drug-eluting stent to treat coronary issues. When a doctor and patient work together to decide on that choice, the Endeavor is certainly one of the options worth considering.

 

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Kathryn Wagner, MD

Dr. Kathryn Wagner grew up in South Texas. Since 1995, when she completed her medical training, she has had a private practice in San Antonio. Recently, a new office facility has been opened by Dr. Wagner at the historic Nix Health Care System downtown located on the fourteenth floor. In 1991, she was licensed by the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners. In 1999, Dr. Wagner was Board Certified by the American College of Surgeons. Kathryn Wagner is married and is raising three children. She enjoys scuba diving, swimming, and wine tasting.
 
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