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A ray of hope in Angioplasty dilemma

ne of the patient's hearts, showing a wide, obstruction-free artery. ``No lesion. No problem,'' he said. ``The artery is completely open after two years follow up.''

Dr. Jean Fajadet of Thoraxcenter in Rotterdam gave results with the same stent after seven months in 238 patients. Again, not a single stent clogged up, compared with restenosis in 26 percent of those getting ordinary stents.

Dr. Sidney Smith, chief medical officer of the American Heart Association, cautioned that large, careful studies must be finished comparing the new stents with the ordinary kind. Nevertheless, he said, ``these are very impressive and very encouraging results. When you see zero restenosis at one year, it's a breakthrough. It's almost too good to believe when you see zero.''

Especially encouraging, Smith said, is the fact they seem to work in unusually small arteries and in those of diabetic patients. Both are very prone to reclogging. Dr. Greg Stone of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City said the first of these stents could be available in 2003. Results of at least three large studies, necessary to win Food and Drug Administration approval, are expected on rival products within the next year.


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