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Heart attack victims given drug-coated stents after an acute heart attack are nearly five times more likely to die six months to two years later than those with bare metal forms of the arterial scaffolding, research showed on Tuesday.

Drug stents remain highly controversial in the cardiology community and fears about late stent thrombosis have led to a slump in sales in the past year.

Eckhart Fleck, director of cardiology at the German Heart Institute in Berlin and a spokesman for the European Society of Cardiology, said the findings were serious and showed that doctors should not be indiscriminate in use of drug stents.

For more information on this subject matter, please refer to the section on Drugs, Medical Devices, and Implants.

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