Is the Cypher Sirolimus-eluting stent right for you?

Is the Cypher Sirolimus-eluting stent right for you?

A few weeks back, while you were watching the Patriots/Giants game, you might have suddenly had the overpowering urge to have a Cypher Sirolimus-eluting stent implanted.

Allow me to translate: It’s a stent designed to keep arteries open and blood flowing. Cypher is the brand name, and Sirolimus is the drug that coats the stent.

The Cypher advertisement is all about the warm’n’fuzzy – strong, inspirational images backed by strong, inspirational music, delivered with a strong, inspirational catch phrase: “Life wide open.”

Yeah! Life wide open! Sign me up!

But then, about 40 seconds in, the announcer says, “If you can’t take antiplatelet medicine or have certain allergies, it’s not for you.”

But butI want to live life wide open!

And then he adds: “It’s risks include the formation of a blood clot in the stent, heart attack, and repeat procedure.”

Hmmm. Blood clot. Heart attack. That’s maybe just a little wider open than I wanted to go.

And what’s this Sirolimus anyway? Medline Plus (a web site maintained by the National Institutes of Health) notes that Sirolimus “works by suppressing the body’s immune system.”

Yeah, I might not want something like that eluting in my veins. Especially because Medline Plus adds: “Sirolimus may increase the risk of infection and lymphoma.”

Excellent! Now I don’t have to ask my doctor if the Cypher Sirolimus-eluting stent is right for me because I’m pretty sure I already know.

You can find more “wide open” information about drug-eluting stents in the e-Alert “Clear and Present Danger” (1/9/07), at this link: