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Lower limb peripheral artery disease is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality. Endovascular revascularization is often indicated to improve walking function and to prevent limb loss but restenosis in the treated vessel segment remains a concern that limits the overall effectiveness of the treatment. The most promising technique to prevent restenosis is the use of drug-coated devices, and the most common drug used to coat lower limb balloon angioplasty balloons and stents is paclitaxel. A systematic review and meta-analysis in 2018 reported a possible increase in late mortality attributable to paclitaxel-coated devices. Since then, their use has been brought into question. Here, we present an update of data focusing on the efficacy and safety of paclitaxel-coated devices in lower limb treatment applications. While paclitaxel-coated devices appear to reduce restenosis rates it is still unclear how these surrogate marker improvements translate to direct patient benefits and uncertainty remains as to whether paclitaxel-coated devices confer an increased risk of long-term mortality. Available randomized clinical data is hampered by trial heterogeneity, insufficient power, potential attrition bias and the lack of a plausible mechanistic explanation. An important step forward is that the ongoing trials that were temporarily halted due to the Katsanos et al. report have now both commenced recruitment and may ultimately resolve this clinical dilemma by virtue of their larger sample sizes. Other possible ways forward are the ongoing investigation of alternative anti-proliferative coating agents and use of new sophisticated vascular imaging techniques to more clearly identify patients at risk of restenosis already in the preoperative setting. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Vishal Amlani, Mårten Falkenberg, Joakim Nordanstig. The current status of drug-coated devices in lower extremity peripheral artery disease interventions. Progress in cardiovascular diseases. 2021 Mar-Apr;65:23-28

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PMID: 33587964

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