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Charles George VA Medical Center - Asheville, NC


Stent research underway at Asheville VA Hospital

April 22, 2014

CHARLES GEORGE VA MEDICAL CENTER, Asheville – The Charles George VA Medical Center (CGVAMC) is one of 25 VA medical centers involved in CSP 571 Drug-eluting Stents vs. Bare Metal Stents in Saphenous Vein Graft Angioplasty, funded through the Department of Veterans Affairs Cooperative Studies Program (CSP). 
Lead Site Investigator, Dr. Kristine Owen, and her study team are working with patients who have already undergone coronary bypass surgery which entails having a vein removed from the leg and implanted or grafted in the chest to "bypass" blockages in the coronary arteries. These grafts are called saphenous vein grafts or SVGs.  SVGs often develop blockages that can cause chest pain and heart attacks.
SVG blockages can be opened by using small balloons and stents (metal coils that keep the artery open). The study team is doing research to find the best type of stent to use when a SVG develops blockage after coronary bypass surgery. 
The two types of stents now in use are bare metal stents (BMS) and drug-eluting stents (DES). Both stents are made of metal but DES is also coated with a drug that releases into the wall of the blood vessel to prevent scar tissue from forming and re-narrowing the vessel. Both stents have advantages and disadvantages. 
DES require taking special blood thinners longer than BMS and could have more bleeding, they are also less likely to re-narrow. Both BMS and DES are routinely used in SVGs, but it is not known which one is better.
In the study, patients who need stenting of SVG blockages and who meet study criteria will be asked to take part in the study and will then be chosen to receive either DES or BMS.  All study patients will be followed in the clinic for at least one year to see if there is a difference in the rate of cardiac death, heart attack, or if a procedure is required to increase the flow of blood. The purpose of CSP 571 is to compare these outcomes after DES vs. BMS use in SVGs.  
 The CGVAMC research team for this study includes three physicians who specialize in interventional cardiology, two nurses with extensive cardiology experience and a cardiovascular laboratory technician.  The team has more than 20 years of clinical and research experience.   This study is scheduled to be complete in 2015 and the results will be published in a national medical journal to guide practice for VA and non-VA patients.