Written by attorney J. Douglas Peters

Heart Stent Removal - Heart Stent Litigation

Heart Stent Litigation To date, two lawsuits have been filed in the State of Florida involving drug-coated metal heart stents. The safety of drug coated cardiac stents was first called into question in peer reviewed medical journal articles published in September of 2006. Uncoated stainless steel stents (small wire mesh tubes) became a popular alternative to cardiac bi-pass surgery during the last decade. The most recent generation of metallic cardiac stents, made from either stainless stell or various metal alloys, have had slow release antibiotics impregnated in them since 2003. In theory, this "advancement" would prevent the stents from becoming re-occluded. The September 2006 studies recently published suggest that the slow-release antibiotics have added a new risk, blood clot formation. Typically, when the coated stents are inserted, the treating physician orders the patient to take anti-blood clotting medication such as Plavix for a period of time varying from weeks, to three months, to years. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began committee hearings on the safety of drug coated heart stents on December 7, 2006. Patients who have received drug-coated heart stents who have been on long-term Plavix seem to be at lower risk for clot formation than those who have discontinued or otherwise been on short-term Plavix-like drug regimens. Controversy over these stents is likely to increase as scrutiny of the stents and their complications heightens. Typically in such cases, multiple hearings are required before action is taken. Generally, heart stents cannot be removed by a catheter. Surgical removal of the vessel in cases where such removal is warranted, appears to be the only current option. Manufacturers of drug-coated stents include Johnson & Johnson, its subsidiary Cordis Corp. and Boston Scientific Corp.

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