Science & Tech

Radiation limits narrowing of arteries after stent

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150,000 patients in U.S. per year suffer from artery narrowing after placement of stent

The results of a trial directed by the Harvard Clinical Research Institute and the Cardiovascular Data Analysis Center indicate there may be an effective alternative to placement of a stent to prevent artery narrowing after angioplasty. That alternative is intracoronary radiation therapy, or “brachytherapy.” The first-of-its-kind trial tested the safety and efficacy of the delivery of iridium-192, a source of gamma radiation, in the prevention of artery narrowing. Richard Kuntz of Harvard Medical School and colleagues found that intracoronary gamma irradiation resulted in significantly less re-narrowing, and thus a significant decrease in the need for additional cardiac procedures. This study appeared in the Jan. 25, 2001, New England Journal of Medicine.