Little common ground in stent controversy

Bad news first: Heart attack victims are more likely to die if they're fitted with a drug-coated stent than if they're given a bare one, according to an analysis of 2,300 patients in 14 countries, known as the Grace Registry.

But opposite-and-somewhat-equal good news, also presented at the European Society of Cardiology congress: Swedish researchers following drug-coated stent patients found no increased risk of death. And Boston Scientific, which makes the Taxus drug-eluting stent, also announced results of its own study--no increased risk of blood clots in patients four to five years on. (We'll take this latter study with a grain of salt, however.)

For its part, Johnson & Johnson, which markets the Cypher drug stent, deemed the Grace Registry findings "inconsistent" with other studies (those with results it likes better, of course).

- here's the report on the heart-attack study
- see the report on the Swedish study here
- check out release from Boston Scientific