Percutaneous coronary intervention in the elderly: Are drug-coated balloons the future?

Ioannis Merinopoulos, Tharusha Gunawardena, Upul Wickramarachchi, Alisdair Ryding, Simon Eccleshall, Vassilios S. Vassiliou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


Balloon angioplasty revolutionised percutaneous treatment for coronary artery disease four decades ago, but vessel-threatening dissections, elastic recoil and restenosis were major drawbacks to an otherwise successful long-lasting intervention. Subsequent advances with bare metal stents and then drug eluting stents followed, aiming to mitigate the risks of acute vessel closure and restenosis. However, stent implantation often necessitates dual antiplatelet therapy for a prolonged period of time, which in itself can lead to adverse outcomes, especially in the frail elderly population at higher risk of bleeding. More recently, bioabsorbable stents have been implemented in clinical practice enabling earlier intimal coverage of the stent and apposition. However, another addition to the armamentarium of percutaneous coronary intervention is the use of drug-coated balloons without the need for deploying any coronary stents or scaffolds. Drug-coated balloons are semi-compliant balloons coated with an antiproliferative agent that is rapidly released on contact with the vessel intima exerting an anti-restenotic effect. The absence of a metallic scaffold means that the need for antiplatelet therapy can potentially be negated in the longer term if required. In this article, we will review the history of percutaneous coronary intervention and the available evidence for the appropriate use of drug-coated balloons especially in the elderly population. We will conclude this review by demonstrating the potential use of drug-coated balloon rather percutaneous stenting through case examples.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-52
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Cardiology Reviews
Issue number1
Early online date26 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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