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Research News: What’s on the Horizon for the Controversial Medical Stent?

About 500,000 angioplasties are performed in the United States every year. Dr. Stanley Tocker, a former CECON Group Vice President and consultant in this controversial subject area, reports on important happenings in the research of stents.

Medical stents, small expandable mesh tubes used to open narrowed vascular sites or support weakened vessels, have been in the news in the face of multiple lawsuits and two leading medical societies publishing a report calling stents “one of the five most overused procedures in medicine.” The report called into question elective procedures versus emergency situations using stents for patients having heart attacks—where the life-saving benefit is clear.

Angioplasty typically costs around $30,000, and in rare circumstances it can lead to tears in blood vessel walls, bleeding and the formation of blood clots.

All aspects of the stent design, surgical techniques for their use, anti-plaque coatings, coating methodology and materials of construction have been studied. One aspect of stents where some fascinating research is currently taking place is in the material choice.

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