The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Medtronic Incorporated’s GuardWire has failed to benefit patients in the latest study:
Medtronic Incorporated’s GuardWire, designed to protect heart-attack patients from debris dislodged while doctors restore blood flow to the heart, unexpectedly failed to benefit patients in an international study.
The device didn’t appear to improve blood flow to the heart, boost patients’ health, lessen heart-muscle damage or extend survival more than in patients who didn’t get GuardWire, according to the study in the March 2 Journal of the American Medical Association. The device did collect clots and fatty deposits that broke off during balloon angioplasty in 73 percent of the 252 patients in the trial.
GuardWire no longer should be routinely used for heart attack patients, the researchers said. Doctors had thought the clots hindered recovery after angioplasty, perhaps by blocking other blood vessels or directly damaging the heart. Previous studies showed the device was effective in high-risk surgeries when used during angioplasty on veins that previously were inserted during a heart bypass.
UPDATE (03/03/05): Front page of JAMA offers the entire research article as a free item. However, the access to the item is restricted for subscribers only. Somehow we believe that all the research published at JAMA, and usually subsidized by the NIH –i.e. public money– should be available for free over the internet. The abstract is here…
UPDATE (03/03/05): The article is now available.