Increased mortality with paclitaxel-eluting stents is driven by lesion length



      Endovascular stenting has become the first-line treatment of symptomatic peripheral artery disease of the femoropopliteal axis (FPA). Several randomized clinical trials have reported that paclitaxel-eluting stents (PESs) significantly reduce the rates of restenosis. However, a meta-analysis investigating paclitaxel-coated devices in the FPA showed a significant increase in all-cause mortality after the use of PES. The aim of this study was to compare the long-term, real-world outcomes of bare-metal stents (BMSs) and PESs for treating FPA occlusive disease.


      A retrospective review of the medical records of 296 patients who underwent FPA stenting between January 2011 and December 2017 was performed. Patients were grouped into BMS and PES groups. The primary end point was all-cause mortality. Secondary end points included limb salvage, primary patency, primary assisted patency, and secondary patency. A comparison between the two groups within TransAtlantic Inter-Society Consensus (TASC) II subgroups was also performed.


      Of the study cohort, 101 patients (34%) received PES, whereas 195 patients (66%) underwent BMS placement. Median follow-up time was 23 months (interquartile range, 7-40 months). The 2-year all-cause mortality estimates were 12% for the PES group compared with 11.4% for the BMS group (P = .26). There were no differences in the 2-year limb salvage (90.7% vs 92%; P = .4), primary patency (78.8% vs 81.1%; P = .62), primary assisted patency (100% vs 96.5%; P = .4), and secondary patency (100% vs 98.6%; P = .26) between the PES and the BMS groups, respectively (all P > .05). These findings persisted when patients were stratified by TASC II lesions. Among patients with TASC C and D lesions, the use of PES was associated with significantly higher 2-year all-cause mortality (23.9% vs 5.1%; P = .05). After adjustment for age and other potential confounders, PES use was associated with significant increase in all-cause mortality (adjusted hazard ratio, 2.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.31-27 P = .02) in TASC C and D patients.


      Consistent with the meta-analysis of several randomized clinical trials, the use of PES in a real-world setting was associated with a twofold increase in the risk of death. However, these findings were seen only among patients with TASC C and D lesions, who required multiple longer stents and potentially larger paclitaxel dose. There was no advantage in terms of patency in PES vs BMS in this population with extensive disease. Further studies of larger populations are required.


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