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Expert review

Safety and efficacy of biodegradable vs. durable polymer drug-eluting stents: evidence from a meta-analysis of randomised trials

Aims: Drug-eluting stents (DES) are a major advance in interventional cardiology; however concerns have been raised regarding their long-term safety due to the permanent nature of the polymer. New generation stents with biodegradable polymers (BDS) have recently been developed. The aim of this study was to perform a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing the safety and efficacy profile of BDS vs. durable polymer DES.

Methods and results: The MEDLINE/CENTRAL and Google Scholar databases were searched for RCTs comparing safety and efficacy of BDS vs. DES. Safety endpoints were mortality, myocardial infarction (MI), and stent thrombosis (ST). Efficacy endpoints were target vessel revascularisation (TVR), target lesion revascularisation (TLR) and six-month in-stent late loss (ISLL). The meta-analysis included eight RCTs (n=7,481). At a median follow-up of nine months, as compared to DES, BDS use did not increase mortality (OR [95% CI] = 0.91 [0.69-1.22], p=0.53) or MI (OR [95% CI] = 1.14 [0.90-1.44], p=0.29). Rate of late/very late ST was significantly reduced in BDS patients (OR [95% CI] = 0.60 [0.39-0.91], p=0.02), as was six-month ISLL (mean difference [95% CI] = –0.07 [–0.12; –0.02] mm, p=0.004) in comparison with DES patients. Rates of TVR and TLR were comparable between BDS and DES.

Conclusions: BDS are at least as safe as standard DES with regard to survival and MI, and more effective in reducing late ST, as well as six-month ISLL. Further large RCTs with long-term follow-up are warranted to definitively confirm the potential benefits of BDS.

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