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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
28-May-2014

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Contact: Bridgette McNeill
bridgette.mcneill@heart.org
214-706-1135
American Heart Association
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Taking prescribed anti-clotting drug may help save stent patients' lives

American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report

If you've just received a coronary artery stent to prop open a blood vessel, your life may depend on filling your prescription and taking an anti-clotting drug within days of leaving the hospital, according to a large study in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The risk of heart attack and death is highest within the first 30 days for those who delay taking their medication than during long-term follow-up out to two years.

Taking the drug clopidogrel plus aspirin is advised for a month in people who have a bare metal stent implanted, and six to 12 months in patients who get a drug-eluting stent.

"It is very important that patients take clopidogrel after having a coronary stent implanted to prevent blood clots forming within the stent," said Nicholas Cruden, M.B.Ch.B., Ph.D., lead author and a consultant cardiologist at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom. "In a worst-case scenario, the stent can block, resulting in a heart attack or even death."

The new study is based on records for 15,629 people in British Columbia who received either type of stent in 2004-06. About 30 percent of the patients failed to fill a clopidogrel prescription within three days of leaving the hospital.

Compared to patients who filled their prescriptions promptly, those who delayed were about:

"This study highlights the importance of ensuring patients have access to medications as soon as they leave the hospital," Cruden said. "Even a delay of a day or two was associated with worse outcomes."

Discharging patients from the hospital with enough medicine for the highest-risk period the first month or so could help, he said.

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Co-authors are: Jehangir N. Din, M.B.Ch.B., M.D.; Christian Janssen, Ph.D.; Reginald Smith, Ph.D.; J. David Hilton, M.D.; W. Peter Klinke, M.D.; Ron G. Carere, M.D.; Simon D. Robinson, M.B.Ch.B., M.D.; and Anthony Della Siega, M.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

Additional Resources:

Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association's policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at http://www.heart.org/corporatefunding.



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