Background: Whether the two drug-eluting stents approved by the US Food and Drug Administration-a sirolimus-eluting stent and a paclitaxel-eluting stent-are associated with increased risks of death, myocardial infarction, or stent thrombosis compared with bare-metal stents is uncertain. Our aim was to compare the safety and effectiveness of these stents.
Methods: We searched relevant sources from inception to March, 2007, and contacted investigators and manufacturers to identify randomised controlled trials in patients with coronary artery disease that compared drug-eluting with bare-metal stents, or that compared sirolimus-eluting stents head-to-head with paclitaxel-eluting stents. Safety outcomes included mortality, myocardial infarction, and definite stent thrombosis; the effectiveness outcome was target lesion revascularisation. We included 38 trials (18,023 patients) with a follow-up of up to 4 years. Trialists and manufacturers provided additional data on clinical outcomes for 29 trials. We did a network meta-analysis with a mixed-treatment comparison method to combine direct within-trial comparisons between stents with indirect evidence from other trials while maintaining randomisation.
Findings: Mortality was similar in the three groups: hazard ratios (HR) were 1.00 (95% credibility interval 0.82-1.25) for sirolimus-eluting versus bare-metal stents, 1.03 (0.84-1.22) for paclitaxel-eluting versus bare-metal stents, and 0.96 (0.83-1.24) for sirolimus-eluting versus paclitaxel-eluting stents. Sirolimus-eluting stents were associated with the lowest risk of myocardial infarction (HR 0.81, 95% credibility interval 0.66-0.97, p=0.030 vs bare-metal stents; 0.83, 0.71-1.00, p=0.045 vs paclitaxel-eluting stents). There were no significant differences in the risk of definite stent thrombosis (0 days to 4 years). However, the risk of late definite stent thrombosis (>30 days) was increased with paclitaxel-eluting stents (HR 2.11, 95% credibility interval 1.19-4.23, p=0.017 vs bare-metal stents; 1.85, 1.02-3.85, p=0.041 vs sirolimus-eluting stents). The reduction in target lesion revascularisation seen with drug-eluting stents compared with bare-metal stents was more pronounced with sirolimus-eluting stents than with paclitaxel-eluting stents (0.70, 0.56-0.84; p=0.0021).
Interpretation: The risks of mortality associated with drug-eluting and bare-metal stents are similar. Sirolimus-eluting stents seem to be clinically better than bare-metal and paclitaxel-eluting stents.