Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The real dangers of DES

These are some of my notes for a talk done at Andaman Datai. The setting was lovely and the service was very good.

I had posted earlier on the PCI Tsunami-equivalent that came from Barcelona in September 2006. We were all stunned by the Europeans (Dr Camezind and Dr Normand) who presented two meta-analysis of data from randomised trials of two FDA approved stents, viz Cypher and Taxus, coming to the conclusion that they were dangerous due to association with increased rate of late stent thrombosis (especially in patients who discontinued their clopidogrel). This translated to more heart attacks and death. Of course that was all on European soil at the World Congress of Cardiology Annual Scientific Session/European Congress of Cardiology Annual Scientific Session, meeting in Spain.

In October, across the Atlantic, at the TCT meeting in Washington, the Americans struck back, claiming poor data analysis and causing undue stress for patients. They stopped just short of calling the Europeans incompetent.

From my understanding, they both have a point. There seem to be a risk of late stent thrombosis with DES, but the risk of heart attacks and death is not any higher then in patients who received the bare metal stents. The European data analysis was difficult as they claimed that they were not given all the raw data that they needed. There is obviously an issue with the discontinuation of clopidogrel. Many of the late stent thrombosis occurred in patients who had stopped taking clopidogrel, for very many reasons. Then it became apparent that the use of clopidogrel (which is absolutely vital) following DES implantation, is not approved by FDA. It is an off-label use.

Of course, almost like in the movies, in comes the high priest (read FDA Advisory panel on Circulatory System Devices) to decide to see if there should be any change in the labelling and use of DES following all this hooha. This Panel (which has been criticised by some as a rather bias panel) met on 8th-9th Dec. Guess what, they decided that all is well and business as usual. Their findings have just been revealed on the internet.

The specifics. They deliberated at great length, heard about 25 presentations from all over the first world, and concluded, that DES use is associated with an increase incidence of late stent thrombosis, but not any increase in death or heart attacks, when compared to bare metal stents. It is important to note that all the randomised controlled trial were done 4-5 years ago, but the consensus definition for late stent thrombosis (LST) were just agreed to after the September Barcelona meeting.

This new consensus definition for LST, was formulated by an Academic Reserch Consortium (ARC), headed by academics from Harvard and including many world famous cardiac interventionist, who have substantial business in the companies which produce DES. HaHaHa. How great is the system? Of course, the ARC definition for LST is very tight requiring angiographic or necropsy confirmation for a diagnosis of LST. So the Circulatory System Devices Advisory Panel of FDA concluded that DES use is safe enough and nothing important needs be change in the labelling.

The companies (JnJ Cordis and Boston Scientific) breathed a heavy sigh of relief and the NYSE remain quiet on these shares. Life goes on. We have all learn our lessons. We have to be more vigilant and circimspect in our DES use. We must be very particular with the use of clopidogrel and patients must be adviced precisely about the use of clopidogrel. When bare metal stents can do the job with almost similar risk of restenosis, they should be prefered. Companies producing DES must be committed to more longer term post-market survillence, and monitoring and world patient registries must be kept.

The doctors who use "generic" DES, whose companies cannot do post market survillence must know that DES are not without their problems even in good quality controlled manufacturing plants with vigorous American quality control.

The cross Atlantic DES stent war, I am sure will continue. I don't think that we have heard the last word yet, although the great American "high priest" have spoken.

2 comments:

Lortab said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Steven said...

Steven said...
DES good?.. hardly... not if you are the one who is suffering from ACS literally every day for 5.5years as a result of a DES... I am finding that Celebrex is a bit helpful (suggested by head of a cath lab at different hospital than the one mine was placed in) ... and looking for natural methods, top fish oil, herbs etc., anyting to stop this daily severe and dangerous vascular inflammation and pain. It has been a 10 of pain almost every day since the day after I had a large Cypher DES placed in my Osteum of LAD. Also thousands are all over the web complaning about significant post stent chest pain/angina with completely patent DES stents... really getting quite common. Every middle aged man I have met with a DES has the problem like mine. Older people don't complain, because the doctors tell them "it your heart", you are old and sick, or "not right in the head". There are also dozens of articles and studies on post stent pain, inflammation, allergy, especially for the DES... yet interventionists are still in (monetary) denial... Surgeons however are now speaking up for the first time about stents (especially DES) heated arguments are going on in hospitals. The DES is junk, dangerous... careful ballooning, followed by rest and the many available medicines and strict change in diet, untimately later excercise, all far preferable... and if need be, a bare metal in the most dire of proven cases. Otherwise forget the DES, until they invent something that does not first "harm" the patient... I am suffering every day, and have tried everything to no avail... some courageous interventionists are suggesting Celebrex, with increasing aspirin; next choice Prednisone (a dangerous choice, but what else to do) by some interventionists. Some articles and studies on the various "treatments" are on the web. But most interventionists are just blowing off the patients. Some other interventionists however are also suggesting antihistamines, and various immune altering drugs, but this is dangerous. Antihistamines did not help me at all... good idea though... only Celebrex helps me, and only a little bit, at 400mg per day. I am left to experiment on myself as many thousands of others are, suffering from "stent-osis"... while the top doctors just give nice speeches in nice places... stent-osis is far worse than arteriosclerosis, as there in apparently nothing you can do to cure stent-osis, not vigorous exercise, nothing, and the vessel just gets more inflammed the more you exercise or do anything. Bypass and removal of stent becomes all the more dangerous with stents in the way, having been inflammed in the vessel, etc. Calcium Channel blockers, Ace block/inhibitors/statins/ Plavix, all useless, tried them all... nothing stops the vascular/stent inflammation, except Celebrex, and only a tiny bit. All drugs have been useless... post if you have had success with a remedy... My advice: never, ever, ever allow any doctor to put a DES in you heart, ever...

10:13 PM