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January 15, 1988

Artery-Expanding Stents Widen Hopes for Patients With Atherosclerosis

JAMA. 1988;259(3):327-329. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720030001001

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"IT MAKES GOOD SENSE to try these stents," Ronald E. Vlietstra, MD, said at the annual American Heart Association meeting in Anaheim, Calif. Vlietstra, a consultant in cardiovascular disease and internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn, was recommending consideration of the newest idea for maintaining patency in atherosclerotic coronary arteries.

A stent is a small stainless steel device—about the size of a spring in the old ballpoint pens—designed to be placed permanently in an artery so that it acts as a supporting framework to keep the walls apart, permitting the blood to circulate without obstruction. Three different types of stents were described at the meeting by investigators who think the devices, still in an early stage of development, may one day be used routinely to prevent the restenosis that occurs within six months in up to 30% of some 200 000 patients with cardiovascular disease who undergo percutaneous