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Background: Recent studies have questioned the safety of drug-eluting stents because of a higher incidence of late stent thrombosis, raising the possibility that drug-eluting stents may be associated with an increased mortality. The effect of drug-eluting stents on mortality in African-Americans is unknown.

Methods: We evaluated 628 African-American patients (354 patients treated with drug-eluting stents and 274 patients treated with bare metal stents) between January 2003 and August 2005, using data from our bolus-only platelet glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitor database. The primary end point was all-cause mortality obtained using social security death index.

Results: After a mean follow-up of 3 /-0.9 years, the mortality rate in the bare metal stents group was 12.8% compared with 7.1% in the drug-eluting stents group [adjusted P value=0.19; hazard ratio (HR) for bare metal stents group compared with drug-eluting stents group for death=1.4; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.8-2.4]. In a subgroup analysis, patients presenting with acute coronary syndrome had a higher mortality when treated with bare metal stents compared with drug-eluting stents (17.1 vs. 6.3%, P=0.022; HR=2.2; 95% CI: 1.1-4.4). Patients with chronic kidney disease (all patients with creatinine >1.5 mg/dl) also had a higher mortality with bare metal stents compared with drug-eluting stents (36.7 vs. 20.4%, P=0.044; HR=2.3; 95% CI: 1.02-5.2).

Conclusion: Drug-eluting stents seem to be safe in African-Americans and may improve survival in certain subgroups such as patients with acute coronary syndromes and chronic kidney disease.

(C) 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.