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Stents have dramatically reduced the incidence of stenosis following percutaneous angioplasty. However, they are also known to restenose within months. Prevention of restenosis therefore depends on several factors:
There are several categories of drugs for restenosis:
Vascular brachytherapy is another technique used to prevent or treat a restenotic lesion. Here short-range ionizing therapy is used to inhibit neointimal hyperplasia, so as to prevent shrinkage of the arterial lumen after angioplasty. The radiation produces:
Characteristic changes in irradiated vessels include:
Vascular brachytherapy can be used alone or following angioplasty of a restenotic lesion. This is performed through a special catheter placed for 10 minutes inside the blocked segment, and containing a source of short-term radiation.