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Stents as effective as bypass surgery

ATLANTA, March 14 (UPI) -- Stents -- mesh tubes often treated with drugs -- work as well as coronary bypass surgery, a Texas study shows.

In one study, Texas Heart Institute researchers examined nearly 6,500 patients who underwent bypass surgery or had stents implanted in the period 1995-2003.

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While he had expected bypass surgery would be more effective, researcher Shun Kohsaka said mortality rates were virtually the same.

"Appropriately selected patients with coronary artery disease may be treated effectively with stents as an alternative to surgery," Kohsaka said. "Our data show long-term survival is unaffected by initially choosing the less invasive approach."

In a separate study, U.S., Italian and Belgian researchers said so-called sirolimus-eluting stents -- those treated with a drug that suppresses the immune system -- are superior to other types of stents in keeping arteries from becoming blocked anew.

The studies were presented at an Atlanta meeting of the American College of Cardiology and the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions.

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