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What Type of Stent Did I Get, Where? Most Heart Patients Don't Know
  • Cara Murez
  • Posted May 19, 2021

What Type of Stent Did I Get, Where? Most Heart Patients Don't Know

When someone comes in for a new heart stent, it's critical that the medical team doing the procedure knows several key facts about previous stents the patient has had.

But fewer than half of patients receiving a stent were still carrying the stent card that has those details with them, a new study finds.

Most of them - about 88% - do carry their phones, according to study author Dr. Jordan Safirstein, who suggests keeping stent info on smartphones.

"Stent design has advanced significantly since the mid-1990s, with the evolution of new polymers and advanced drug-eluting stents," said Safirstein, director of transradial catheterization for Morristown Medical Center, part of Atlantic Health System, in New Jersey.

"Since that time, email, the internet and smartphone technologies have been developed. Despite these major technological changes, what we provide to patients hasn't changed at all - a card containing all of their stent implantation details. When someone comes in for a new PCI procedure it is critical that we know the date of their earlier procedure, vessel location, size and type of stent [bare metal versus drug-eluting]. These are all critical factors in our decision making about new stenting," Safirstein explained in a medical center news release.

The study was presented Saturday during the American College of Cardiology's virtual annual meeting. Such research is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The research team surveyed 313 patients having a stent, also called a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), who already had one or more stents, between April 2019 and March 2020. The survey assessed whether they had their stent card. It also asked whether they had knowledge of stent information including the date, type and vessel, and whether they were currently carrying a mobile device. Patients could use their stent card, if they had it, to complete the survey.

Patients completed the surveys in the emergency room, cardiologist's office, catheterization lab and inpatient cardiac unit, the study authors noted.

Even with the stent card, only about 11% were able to correctly identify date, vessel and type of stent. Presence of the stent card increased the likelihood by 2.5 times that patients could identify the vessel stented.

The older the patient was and/or the longer it had been since their previous PCI, the less likely they were to recall correct information on their stent.

While 88% of patients had their cellphone with them, 74.5% responded that they would be willing to use it to store medical information.

Research to date regarding health-related smartphone applications has focused more on an individual's behavioral health changes and less on the retention of medical device information, the authors said. A smartphone application that retains medical device information may have clinical significance in the rapid and reliable information exchange between a patient and their health care provider, they said.

"The vast majority of patients would use their phone for stent device-related purposes. The only age group that was significantly less likely to do so was those over age 80," said Safirstein.

"We know that a Web-based mobile app facilitated by bar code/QR code scanning, which is HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act]-compliant, is in development and we believe it to be necessary," he added. "Our study's results will engender growth of digital tools to provide patients with lasting and accurate information about their implantable devices."

More information

Johns Hopkins Medicine has more information on stents.

SOURCE: Atlantic Health System, news release, May 12, 2021

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