Background: Coronary-artery stents are known to reduce rates of restenosis after coronary angioplasty, but it is uncertain how long this benefit is maintained.
Methods: We evaluated clinical and angiographic follow-up information for up to three years after the implantation of Palmaz-Schatz metallic coronary-artery stents in 143 patients with 147 lesions of native coronary arteries.
Results: The rate of survival free of myocardial infarction, bypass surgery, and repeated coronary angioplasty for stented lesions was 74.6 percent at three years. After 14 months, revascularization of the stented lesion was necessary in only three patients (2.1 percent). In contrast, coronary angioplasty for a new lesion was required in 11 patients (7.7 percent). Follow-up coronary angiography of 137 lesions at six months, 114 lesions at one year, and 72 lesions at three years revealed a decrease in minimal luminal diameter from 2.54 +/- 0.44 mm immediately after stent implantation to 1.87 +/- 0.56 mm at six months, but no further decrease in diameter at one year (in patients with paired angiograms, 1.95 +/- 0.49 mm at both six months and one year). Significant late improvement in luminal diameter was observed at three years (in patients with paired angiograms, 1.94 +/- 0.48 mm at six months and 2.09 +/- 0.48 mm at three years; P < 0.001).
Conclusions: Clinical and angiographic outcomes up to three years after coronary-artery stenting were favorable, with a low rate of revascularization of the stented lesions. Late improvement in luminal diameter appears to occur between six months and three years.