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Renal Stent No Better Than Drugs at Preventing Clogged Arteries

Nov 21, 2013

A procedure that implants a stent to prevent or clear a blocked passage to the kidneys is no more effective than using aggressive prescription drug therapy.

New research finds that patients fitted with a renal artery stent have no better outcomes than patients who receive drugs to clear those arteries in an attempt to prevent further damage, such as kidney complications or high blood pressure. Instead, the study, funded by the U.S. government, found that patients who aren't experiencing much relief from high blood pressure because of a blocked renal artery with drug therapy alone aren't going to fare much better, if at all, when they opt to have an artery stent implanted, according to a report on the study at

Specifically, the study examined the potential benefits and drawbacks of the stent known as Palmaz Genesis, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson. The study’s researchers found that the stent did help to lower blood pressure somewhat, but that this did not translate into any heart-related benefits. The study was presented recently at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, according to

Statistically, people who received a stent and continued with aggressive drug therapy to counter high blood pressure fared no better than people given just drug therapy to control high blood pressure. Researchers found that 35.1 percent of patients who had a stent implanted one-third of the way through the decade-long trial either died or suffered more serious complications because of their condition. Those on drug therapy alone saw a rate of death and complications that was nearly the same, notes.

An editorial appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine declared, based on the recent trial's notes, that using a stent to clear a renal artery blockage was "futile."

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