‘Balloons can be alternative to stents’, Health News, ET HealthWorld

‘Balloons can be alternative to stents’

Ahmedabad : Today about 95 per cent of angioplasty procedures use a metal stent to enlarge a blocked artery permanently. But what if the patient is young, has multiple blocks, and has conditions that may not give good results in such procedures?

Prof Antonio Colombo, director of Cardiac Cath Lab and Interventional Cardiology Unit at EMO Centro Cuore Columbus, Milan in Italy, recently said that special drug-coated balloons are emerging as the alternative to stents in several cases. Prof Colombo, who is considered an international pioneer in several cardiac procedures, was in the city to conduct a workshop for interventional cardiologists.

“I had started stenting extensively several decades ago, and thus people are surprised when I say that balloons can replace it. But I am not against stenting – it’s essential in several cases, but where there are multiple blocks or where a long stent is required, balloons can be a good alternative,” said Prof Colombo.
“Compared to about 20 per cent patients internationally who have existing co-morbidities like diabetes, India has number hovering around 35 per cent. The age of cardiac patients is also getting younger and re-procedure may be required. In such scenario, it could be a good option.”

Dr Sameer Dani, director and chief interventional cardiologist at Apollo CVHF Heart Institute, said that India along with several other countries is running a trial with Made-in-India drug-coated balloons. “In this procedure, instead of releasing the stent at a specific spot, the drug is released through the mechanism which expands the arteries. It reduces the side-effects of stent. In context of our practice, about 20-25% procedures can be carried out with balloons,” he said.

Experts said that it’s still not covered in several insurance schemes, and is about 20-30 per cent costlier than a traditional stenting procedure. “But in the longer run, it may emerge as an important tool in hands of cardiologists. The effects of the procedure may start showing results in 2-3 years, which may also work as deterrent for some,” said Prof Colombo.

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