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Raven
07-19-2006, 09:03 PM
Non-Stick Teflon Stents Saving Lives

They resist reclosure as they prop open arteries, study finds

Frying pans, spatulas and artery-opening devices called stents may soon have something in common: Teflon.

Coating these tiny mesh tubes with the compound appears to improve the ability of stents to keep blood vessels open after implantation in liver cirrhosis patients, according to a Dutch study.

In an operation called transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS), surgeons place a stent between the portal and hepatic veins of the liver. This simple procedure redirects blood flow around cirrhosis-linked scar tissue and other obstructions.

TIPS also helps prevent portal hypertension, an increase in blood pressure caused by scar obstructions. Over time, however, the stents used in TIPS degrade.

But new research out of Leiden University Medical Center, in the Netherlands, suggests that stents coated with Teflon (polytetrafluorotheylene) could help prevent that decline in effectiveness.

In the study, 93 patients underwent the cirrhosis surgery using either coated or non-coated stents.

Coated stents were better able to keep the blood vessels open for 30 days, three months and one year after the TIPS procedure, compared to non-coated devices, the researchers report.

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Raven