Scottish researchers reporting in Circulation: Cardiovascular Interventions, an American Heart Association journal say, it is advisable for patients to postpone non-cardiac surgery for a minimum of six weeks after they have received a coronary stent, as doing so will ensure they do not suffer reduced blood flow to the heart, heart attack and death.
Coronary stents are small tubes of wire-metal mesh inserted into constricted arteries to keep them open permanently, thereby increasing the flow of blood to the heart. According to the study, stents are a common treatment and used in over
90% of angioplasty patients in Scotland. They are either bare metal or drug-eluting i. e. coated with medicine that slowly releases to reduce the risk of blood clots forming within the stent.
Researchers found 42% of patients who underwent non-cardiac surgery within six weeks of stent implantation suffered heart complications, including decreased blood flow to the heart (ischemia), heart attack and death. In comparison, only
13% of patients who had such surgeries performed beyond six weeks post implantation suffered these complications.
Patients (65%) who had stents inserted as treatment for a recent heart attack, were at a greater risk of heart problems, than those with stable but chronic disease (32%).
For their study, the researchers using hospital admission data and information from the Scottish Coronary Revascularization Register, examined records for 1,953 patients aged 64 years, and who had received coronary stents between April
2003 and March 2007 in Scotland.