Restenosis after percutaneous coronary interventions has been a major limitation of this otherwise very well-accepted method of coronary revascularisation. Coronary stents work by scaffolding the intimal flaps and preventing elastic recoil, which was a major problem after balloon angioplasty. The neointimal growth response to stenting contributes significantly to the restenotic process. Randomised studies comparing coronary artery bypass surgery with coronary stenting especially in multivessel disease clearly highlighted this problem. The problem has been greater in magnitude in special subgroups: diabetics, patients with small vessels (⩽2.5 mm in diameter), long segments of disease (⩾20 mm in length), etc. These limitations of Bare metal stents have been addressed by drug-eluting stents (DESs). Third-generation stents with bioabsorbable polymers like the Biolimus releasing Biomatrix stent have already become available in Europe and parts of Asia. A longer follow-up will prove their long-term safety vis-à-vis first-generation DES. The polymer-free stent with capability of using more than one drug, though very attractive, needs larger multicentric studies before gaining wider acceptance. The fully bioabsorbable stent is yet another promising concept. The feasibility has already been demonstrated, and finer refinements are under way. The future of newer DES thus is very promising, and most of the issues related to first-generation DES are at the threshold of being solved.
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Competing interests None.
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