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Allergic Reactions After Drug Eluting Stent (DES) Hypersensitivity (2007 archive)

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Post to this topic if you are concerned that you may be experiencing an allergic reaction (hypersensitivity) after a drug-eluting stent (DES) procedure.

Other postings can be found here: Current, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005.

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Archived Postings from 2007 (116):

• On Sept.19, 2007 I had two DES placed in my RCA and D1. One is extra long. I was told that I had two 80% blockages. Afterwards I experienced some slight pressure in my chest and an ache in my right arm which have worsened as of this date. I am short of breath while doing the most simple thing. I have an allergy to nickel but was not informed that DES have nickel in them. The cardiologist thinks that I am just sensitive to the stents. But I am sick and very tired. Walking on a treadmill for 20 minutes is my limit. I cannot motivate myself to exercise. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Rachel G., Wisconsin USA, December 28, 2007

• Does anyone have any ideas as to how to become desensitized to the des stents themselves, 6 allergy pills are not quite enough even while watching my diet very carefully? Denise Pgh PA again
Denise Knoche, unfortunate recipient of 2 des stents in RCA, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, December 26, 2007

• I have a Boston Scientific Taxus stent and a regular stent. I had the regular metal stent for 5-years. I've had the DES since Feb 2006. I have experienced a higher CPK-level 199 and SEDRATE 32 (associated with inflammation). I have swollen features associated with inflammation. I have been put on a water pill to reduce swelling and it hasn't helped. I was on Vytorin (statin) for awhile longer than the DES. I have experienced muscle soreness and weakness. I used to run 2 miles at 3.6 mph. No longer can I even walk without my left leg dragging due to weakness after 10-mins. I am right-handed and my right-arm is so pained that I cannot reach across my body to wash the left-side of my body. My muscles are so weak and pained that I cannot sleep through the night w/o tossing and turning due to my body touching a surface. NOTE: I bought new mattresses about 1-year ago because I thought my back pain and body soreness was due to my mattresses - it was not. I went to a neurosurgeon for back surgery who indicated that I was not hurting where I should have been hurting for the back misalignment which was analyzed in an MRI. So, he sent me to a Physical Therapist. On day one with the PT, she indicated that my pain was muscle since she could not move my legs without my screaming in agony. I was taken off of Vytorin (statin). I am feeling a little better but the inflammation and pain persists. My CPK and sedrate is still high. My neurosurgeon has referred me to a neurologist.
Cynthia, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, December 13, 2007

• Four weeks after having a coated stent installed in 2005 I started to have severe joint pain in my hands and feet. I still have this today and I have had MRI's to examine the joints and there was no Arthritis. I had no history of joint pain before this time and I would like to know if anyone else has experienced this problem.
Ken A., Pennsylvania, USA, December 11, 2007

• Sharon -- you wrote in about a "stainless steel/nickel implant" -- are you talking about a stent? Or something else. We haven't heard anything about fungus infections from stents. Does anyone out there have any info on this?
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, November 29, 2007

• I had a stainless steel/nickel implant and I developed a fungus infection from it. Mold releases mycotoxins which are a neurotoxins. It is a multi-symptom, multi-system disease. I am sick as a dog and am going through detox but getting better. Mold exposure is a biotoxin disease. Why in the name of good medicine did it take me five years to figure this out. Why did the doctors not look for a fungus infection. Fungus infections have been around for millions of years why would the medical profession not look for this?
Sharon, Denver, Colorado, USA, November 28, 2007

• Martha -- thanks for the quick response. It seems that it would have been better if the nurse-practitioner had talked to you PRIOR to your procedure. This is something that we at Angioplasty.Org have been writing about and campaigning for since more than a year ago. It's something we testified to the FDA about. Patient AND physicians need more education about drug-eluting stents and the need for long-term Plavix. Not just whether drug-eluting stents are as safe as bare metal stents -- the important issue we see is exactly what you've experienced. Physicians need to be aware of the implications of implanting a device in someone -- a device that requires the patient to stay compliant with dual antiplatelet therapy (Plavix and aspirin) long-term, for a year, two, maybe for life. And they need to communicate these implications to patients BEFORE stent implantation. Some patients cannot be compliant for financial reasons (see our topic on Financial Assistance for Plavix for some unfortunately good examples); others cannot be compliant because of allergies or clinical conditions such as yours; others may need to have surgery in the near future, and Plavix often needs to be stopped for that. All these issues need to be weighed against the higher incidence of restenosis with bare-metal stents -- but it's a decision that should include the patient!
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, November 24, 2007

• You asked why the nurse practitioner said I should have not had a medicated stent. She presented me with the facts about taking Plavix and said I would not have had to take it as long, 3 months only with a bare metal stent. My history of reactions to meds. is several medications with two hospitalizations. She changed me to Ticlid for a while after this pain and weakness in arms started but it didn't change anything so I was told to go back on Plavix. I thought it was more heart problems but went in for an Echo and the Cardiologist said it was not my heart but a flare of my arthritis. My Rheumatologist put me on 20 mg. Prednisone daily and I usually respond quickly with that but so far none. It has been 3 mo. since my stent placement.
Martha M., Missouri, USA, November 24, 2007

• Martha -- can you tell us precisely why the nurse-practitioner said you shouldn't have gotten a DES? We know that Ticlid can cause liver problems, so it's not recommended. Reduced liver function also brings up a "use with caution" for Plavix, but it's not an absolute contraindication. We're assuming the nurse is concerned that you'll need to be on Plavix for a year, whereas with a bare metal stent, it would only be 6 weeks. What has the interventional cardiologist said about this situation? He/she may have had a good reason for the medicated, or drug-eluting stent (DES) but what is the explanation for why you're not feeling well? There is a study going on out of Texas which you can get more information about in the right hand column.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, November 24, 2007

• I recently had a medicated stent (that was all the Dr. told me) I am not sure which kind. I also have a liver disease called Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, caused by the type of arthritis I have. After I had surgery the Nurse Practitioner came in and said "you shouldn't have had a medicated stent" did you not tell your Dr., I said "no but it was on my chart", she said don't ever depend on the Dr. reading your chart. Two weeks after having my stent placed I started having very severe arm & shoulder pain, called and made an appt. with the cardiologist, he said nothing wrong with your heart and sent me to my Rheumatologist, she gave me a Prednisone shot and 20 mg. Prednisone daily. My response has not been good, usually when I have increased inflammation it will get better quickly with Prednisone. I was changed to Ticlid from Plavix which did not do any good, now back on Plavix. I am desperate for help, I feel so much worse than I did before the stent. I truly feel that I am allergic to it. Had I known the facts and been asked which stent I preferred I would have said "bare metal". However I am just a patient, since I have lived with this body for 74 years I know there is something else wrong. I can't comb my hair or put dishes in my cabinet because my arms and shoulders are so weak and painful.
Martha M., Missouri, USA, November 23, 2007

• I am a 43 year old Australian woman who had three cypher stents following an arterial dissection in my LAD. Like Ken R from Georgia, I have had dull chest pain and tingling in my left arm since my heart attack. It, too, lessens with exercise and drives me crazy some days like a tooth ache. My doctors seem to think it's psychological. If anyone can shed some light on this problem, I'd appreciate it. I don't think it can be related to the stents as it was there post heart attack and prior to any treatment at all.
Michele Medway, Gunning, New South Wales, Australia, November 22, 2007

• I'm a 36yr male Correctional Officer, Pos PPD,latent TB 2004 Had a reaction to INH (chemotherapy medication)caused Neuropathy in tongue(burnt taste),fingertips toes,sides of legs,tinnitus,extreme fatigue,memory loss, gallbladder disease(gallbladder removed june2005), B-12 Deficiency discovered right before gal bladder removed started b-12 shots in july...they helped a lot LAD stent(Taxus express2) put in on 11/14/07 I told the ER I was allergic to INH...I guess they couldn't put 2&2 together..I felt fine for 1 day after surgery and have started feeling the same pain that I was experiencing before surgery....I just found out that the coating on these stents are (chemotherapy medicated) Hello! I am reading all of these stories just looking forward to what Ill have to endure...the good news is I already have tinnitus,tiredness,neuraphthy....Now I get to look forward to a rash it looks like...sorry for sounding so neg..just sick of being sick!..My suggestions for persons who have received one of these stints is to get a blood count on your B Vitamins specifically the b-12 I do not think there is a way to repair the nerve damage after you lack the B-12 another is to stop using Proton Pump Inhibitors(protonix, prevacid, nexium, even zantac)-they cause me to have severe explosive diarrhea, pepcid seems to be ok...or just good old mylanta or tums! The pump Inhibitors does not allow your enzymes break down the Vitamin in your food and the chemotherapeutic drug coating is killing the enzymes or better known as intrinsic factor. So there is a double whammy accuring...another safe bet would be to use the b-12 pills that you can place under your tongue. That way you can get the B-12 straight to your blood bypassing your stomach and feeding the nerves that are in danger of not getting the b-12 they need to function! Also more good news I believe the medication in the stent only last for about a year so after that hopefully the inflammation around that area will go away, till then as I have learned in the past Grin! and Bear it! The alternative would be nonexistance...and that would hurt everyone that loves you!
Aaron Smith, Cumberland, Maryland, USA, November 18, 2007

• Sharon -- we have sent you information about the cardiologists who are conducting this study (also being done in Texas). Allergic or sensitivity reactions are often difficult to diagnose so we hope this can be of some benefit. As for the stent being replaced, that can't be done -- sounds like the stent began to restenose (tissue was growing inside of it) and usually in these cases, either a balloon is used to open up the stent, or another stent is placed inside the original. Keep us informed as to what, if anything, you find out -- and good luck.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, November 18, 2007

• I am very much interested in the stent allergy study. I had a Taxus Express 2 Paclitaxel-Eluting Coronary Stent March 2, 2006. By the end of May I was having trouble breathing again and retaining fluid. By December 2006 I was having bad breathing problems so they went back in the end of Dec 2006 and the right coronary artery which they had placed the stent previously that year was grown over and blocked with some kind of matter (doctors words) that they had to remove. The doctor said if I continued to have a problem with it they would take the stent out and replace it with another one. Since that happened I have had strange things happen to me that the doctors haven't been able to explain. My face, neck, arms and legs turn really red which is worse at times than at other times but pretty much stays there. My throat and mouth broke out with blisters and was really red. I don't break out with blisters now but my throat, mouth and tongue all get really red and hurt. My throat actually closed up on me and I had to go to the ER. It had been sore for a couple of weeks and then I couldn't breathe one morning. Everything in my mouth and throat was swollen. They did a CAT scan and said everything was red and swollen all the way into my chest. NO Fever. My uvula, my epiliglottis etc.... all red and swollen. That was Oct 11, 2007 and I am still on steroids and my throat is still red, It is worse then better etc.... I have nasal congestion too. I have been to a immunologist/allergist, ear nose and throat, rheumatologist doctors and fixing to go to an infectious disease specialist. Thus far everyone is clueless as to what is going on. I also bruise really bad, have extreme fatigue at times and am hoarse. Not sure where to go from here but was hoping that this could be the answer. Please respond if you think it is possible that the Taxus Stent may be the culprit. I hope I have remembered everything.
Sharon G., Texas, USA, November 18, 2007

• Denise -- hopefully the group of Texas cardiologists can help you. As for your developed sensitivity to Plavix, we just conducted an interview with Dr. von Tiehl of the Scripps Clinic in San Diego. He is the lead author of a study published in this week's Journal of the American College of Cardiology, titled "Clopidogrel Desensitization After Drug-Eluting Stent Placement". They've had great success with this and he recommended that patients consult an allergist who is capable of delivering drug desensitization therapy (probably one at a large university center) and he/she can reference Dr. von Tiehl's article for details.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, November 18, 2007

• Nov. 13, 2007: After 2 Taxus des stents, without pre surgery consult as to choices in stent world, were implanted March 2006, I experienced a hypersensitive reaction to same. This created a domino effect creating many more allergic reactions over the next 18 months. I even became allergic to PLAVIX after 9 months, so now what am I supposed to do!!! I am not able to follow the lifelong duel antiplatelet therapy that is supposed to protect me from clots? I have also developed allergic reactions to SOY, MSG, NUTS, RAW FRUITS AND SOME RAW VEGETABLES, AS WELL AS ANYTHING CURED, AGED OR FERMENTED AND MY RAGWEED ISSUES ARE OVER THE TOP! Does anyone have any advise, I have enrolled in the study out of Texas. Is my risk for clot increased because of my hypersensitive reaction??? The reaction I have experienced is softball sized hives, malaise,and fever for approx. 3 days. I have seen an allergist and take Fexofendine,4 Cimetidine and Hydroxyz HCl daily. This prevents hives only until a new allergy develops, and I must eliminate yet another food from my diet. Would anyone like to guess if this is temporary or permanent?????
Denise Knoche, patient given no stent choices prior to surgery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, November 13, 2007

• I think I have an allergy to the nickel in my stent. What can I do?
William Lipoff, Plantation, Florida, USA, November 8, 2007

• Every since I've had my Cypher stents I have been living in pain and lost my ambition. I have pain in the muscles of my arms and legs, pain in my joints, and a very annoying pain in my back between my shoulder blades. I told my primary care doctor and he took me off the statin drugs that he put me on. It's been over 6 months and I have been living on motrin and getting more annoyed with the doctor who looks at me like I am crazy when I go to see him with the same story. Is there any help for me?
Elizabeth W., Roseville, Michigan, USA, October 24, 2007

• Update to May 6, 2007 posting for William Blanton regarding cypher drug eluting stent. We finally heard from the University of Texas-they don't think the inflammation found in Bill's mouth is related to the stent but don't know what to make of it. This week Bill was to his heart doctor and his doctor finally told him it is a reaction to the stent. They don't know what to do since you cannot stay on prednisone for any length of time. He said at least you are not dying just suffering. I am not sure what that exactly means. They won't risk taking the stent out unless he gets in the position he is dying from it and it is the only hope. They might attempt it then. They said the stent is affecting his immune system that is why he has skin problems, allergies, sore throat, severe mouth and tongue pain. It is causing the inflammation in the mouth. They cannot give a prognosis since they do not know that much about this. His condition is chronic and he will have to live with it however long that is. The only real hope for the future is possibly a new drug that might help relieve some of the symptoms. We are not there yet. We have given up on any good out come with this. On the issue of fatty tumors- Bill had one on his arm before he received the stent-he now has two. Someone on the forum asked about this-don't really know what this says either. Once again thanks for listening and I hope all of you on this forum find a answer and some help. My heart goes out to all of you and thanks to the forum for making this insight available to all of us. If anything changes or we get anymore information I will let the forum know. Thanks again.
Terrie Blanton, Hamilton, Ohio, USA, October 19, 2007

• I am experiencing the same symptoms: Dull, chronic chest pain, tiredness, etc. along with arm, shoulder, and back pain. These symptoms are lessened with exercise (I am in Cardiac rehab). These started almost immediately, and are fairly constant. I talked with my doctor, and because the last a long time, and don't worsen with activity, they say it is not heart-related. The worst part is the uncertainty of what is causing the pain. I wish someone would make doctors aware of these issues!
Ken R., Georgia, USA, October 17, 2007

• All, I am a 40 year old male with 15 Cypher DES stents and a special covered stent to address an aneurysm in my LAD. My first operation last year placed 8 Cypher DES stents - 5 in my LAD and 3 in my RCA. The recent stents were placed in my RCA and LAD in some of the locations that had restenosis, and new stents in my Circumflex. I had a severe rash last year when the first 8 stents were put in. My cardiologist, Dr. Samuel DeMaio in Austin, TX is a research cardiologist and a patient advocate (he is an MD, a lawyer, and a electrical engineer - quite a career - and is involved heavily in research cardiology). When I had the rash response, which was also accompanied by severe itching to the point of driving me mad, he placed my on Zyrtec. I took the medication for about 2 months and it worked very well. When I quit taking it, the rash and itching did not reoccur. After the last set of operations this year, I never experienced the itching and/or rash so I never required the treatment with Zyrtec. Zyrtec is a drug used to treat allergies. I worked very well for me. By the way, I exercise almost every day - weight lifting and cardio. The benefit of weight lifting - if your doctor deems it safe for you - is that it appears to improve heart rate recovery.
Gerald Merits, Austin, Texas, USA, September 7, 2007

DAN, GEORGIA, USA, September 6, 2007

• Jo brings up a good point about what happened to her husband. When a Thrombosis(blood clot) is formed in the stent can it and will it move around in the heart. It would only make sense for this to happen, however I would like to have clarification. Thanks again for all you assistance.
Bob Puckett, , Snellville, Ga. U.S. A., August 07, 2007

• Jo D -- curious as to how long after getting the Cypher stent did your husband stop taking Plavix. And who told him that was okay to do? His cardiologist? We hear your frustration with the healthcare situation -- but stents have also helped many people, and we would say that in the past year, the pendulum has swung quite far in questioning the use of drug-eluting stents -- many feel too far. Reading over your story, it's not clear in what way the stent your husband got caused any problem, since his thrombosis occurred in a different artery from the stent, according to your doctor. Did your husband get other help, such as rehab or a program of lifestyle changes (smoking cessation, diet, exercise, etc.)? Did you know that studies have shown distance truckers have higher rates of coronary artery disease?
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, August 6, 2007

• My husband has had 5 by passes in 2000, He did not have a heart attack. The only medication he was on was aspirin and lipitor. Then in 2005, he was having pain down his arm , he is an OTR driver. He was away from home, he went to a hospital in another state, they ruled out a heart attack, but ran dye to find a small blocked artery. They put in a Cypher stent, put on plavix for 9 months or longer. His doctor let him stop taking plavix, two month later he had a heart attack from thrombosis, however, the doctor said it was because he stopped taking plavix, but he said it was not caused from the stent, because it was a different vein. now he is on plavix, lipitor, and toprol, he had never had high blood pressure before the drug eluting stent, yet the cardiologist says it his problems had nothing to do with the stent. I have to ask, money talks and I feel these stents have caused problems for a lot of people and the doctors benefit from the stents because the drug companies spend millions on them to push their products. The FDA must also benefit from the large money drug companies. Do they have any idea what kind of trouble they are causing these people trying to keep jobs with insurance and the companies don't want to employ these people, it is a serious situation for many people and our government does not seem to care. All I can say is thank god there will be a time when everyone is equal and money can't buy anything!
Jo D., Oklahoma, USA, August 2, 2007

• Greg and T.C. -- we can understand your frustration and worry. As we've stated numerous times, there are many different possibilities for the type of reactions described in this Forum Topic. It is difficult to discern what is a drug reaction and what might be something else. As for the "something else", little research has been done on this phenomenon. Hypersensitivity (or allergic reaction) to the coatings (a.k.a. polymers) that are on the Cypher or Taxus drug-eluting stents has been the subject of only one peer review article -- it was published in December 2005 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (see our piece, "Drug-Eluting Stents May Cause Allergic Reactions"). Already at that time, we had numerous postings on our Forum from patients describing symptoms like yours. A year ago, the group of cardiologists who wrote that article came to Angioplasty.Org to see if we could refer patients to them -- they were quite sure that such a sensitivity existed, albeit an extremely low incidence, and were trying to develop a test to confirm such a reaction in patients. We have been referring patients on this Forum (see the right side-bar) to the study, but the cardiologists have been hampered by lack of funding and no assistance whatsoever from the two FDA-approved device manufacturers -- they actually have to purchase the stents retail in order to obtain material for allergy testing. These were matters that Angioplasty.Org communicated to the FDA -- most recently during the FDA's two-day DES safety hearing in December 2006. We also feel that the hypersensitivity reaction may be an indicator for increased risk of late stent thrombosis, but this is only an unproven hypothesis. By all means, contact us regarding the Stent Allergy Study, and feel free to write the FDA and your representatives in Washington about this situation. On the brighter side for patients is the fact that the next generation of drug-eluting stents, in particular the Endeavor stent made by Medtronic and the Xience made by Abbott, use different polymer coatings that are supposedly more biocompatible.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, July 21, 2007

• In Dec. 2005, I had a Cypher stent placed in my proximal LAD after an MI at age 38. I have had dull chronic chest pain ever since. I have had two subsequent angiograms, one even with IVUS, and everything looks great and the artery has great flow. I have seen experts in three different university centers and none of them has an answer. The dull chest pain drives me crazy at times on days when it is particularly bad. I have always had a healthy diet, nonsmoking, athletic, person with no family history or other risk factors. My last doctor was the most thorough and he thinks it may be a local inflammation/allergic reaction to the stent coating. Up to this point I had ruled out allergic reaction because, unlike most accounts, I have had no other symptoms, of an allergic reaction (skin rashes or hives). However, the doctor described cases in which pathologists have performed autopsies on people who had once received drug-eluting stents and discovered signs of local inflammation. I wish Johnson & Johnson, and other stent manufacturers, could provide very small samples of the drug used on the stent for allergists and other doctors to do skin tests to help identify the cause.
Greg K., Nevada, USA, July 20, 2007

• Last August my mother had a medicated stent inserted. Since then her health has constantly declined. All along she has said she felt better before the stent was inserted. She had a rash after surgery that was explained as being a reaction to the Lasix medicine she was prescribed (even though she had taken it before without any problems). She was also put on Plavix. She complained of pains in her neck and throat and excruciating pain in her back and leg. She slowly lost her appetite and in December she was forcing every mouthful down. End of December she was prescribed Edecrin for fluid since everyone thought she was allergic to Lasix. From Jan 1 to April 30th she was in the hospital 3 times. The last time was over 30 days with severe vomiting and diarrhea. Nothing helped! Needless to say she was down to nothing but skin and bones. Finally after inserting a feeding tube we were able to bring her home. Every test that has been run has come back negative. Everything looks great and the doctors can t find anything that's causing her problem. Since discontinuing the Ederin in May, the vomiting stopped but her health still hasn't improved. Before the stent she was a dynamic 76 year old. She was very active. Always on the go and doing things for others. Now, she barely speaks unless you ask her something directly. She s able to slowly walk from one room to the other and that s all. I found this website searching to see if anyone else had experienced the same problems as mom. Has anyone found anything that can be done to help people whose system can't tolerate these stents? Mom is slowly slipping away from us.
T.C., Florida, USA, July 7, 2007

• Chad -- if you read through these posts, you'll see others worrying about nickel allergies writing in. Whether or not this is your wife's problem is something that you should discuss with an allergy specialist. That being said, we refer you to our posting from April 10, 2007. Stents that contain surgical stainless steel all carry a warning to physicians in their package insert that patients with a known sensitivity to stainless steel or nickel may suffer an allergic reaction. And this applies to all stents, not just drug-eluting stents. There are some stents made with titanium, but they are usually a titanium-nickel alloy. You've raised an important issue and a problem. Patients who are potential stent candidates should be asked about allergies -- certainly all patients need to take the initiative and make their physicians aware of this condition because many surgical implantable devices are made with nickel. Your allergist may be able to recommend some form of therapy. Please let us know how you fare and thank you for writing in.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, July 3, 2007

• in short 12 heart caths in 10 years for 11 stents placed total. 1 triple bypass at the ten year mark. Is there a possibility of a nickel allergy causing all of the heart caths? My wife has a severe nickel allergy. 7 months after the triple bypass she had to have the wires removed from her chest because they contained nickel. We recently learned the all of the 11 stents have at least 2%nickel in each. She has been diagnosed with multiple illness that are possible linked to an allergy to nickel. Her health is quickly getting worse with no answers as to why. My thought is the elevated levels of nickel being released constantly from all 11 stents. Cardiologist says impossible, By-pass surgeon says absolutely, primary physician says yes also. If so, why were we not informed of nickel in the stents even though we asked every time. Doc's always answered 100% titanium. How to reduce the effects of the nickel?
Chad Lehan, concerned hubby, Spokane Washington, June 24, 2007

• Thank You Terrie Blanton [May 6, 2007] for your post. I have been in contact w/ a Dr. at University of Texas. But as of yet haven't been accepted for the study. My GP is checking on some things before I send the paper back stating I want to participate in the study w/ my signatures on them. This seems to be a long process to me. I found this site in March of this year and sent a request that month.This is early June and I really hope the process speeds up soon. I don't hope to give other people a negative impression of the study. Apparently I assume it does take time to get accepted and get the actual study started. But to me every day that goes by seems like a long time dealing w/ the joint pain and rashes and now off and on itching. I estimate I have been dealing w/ the problems for 4 years now and feel worn down or out from it all.
Paul T., Illinois, USA, June 2, 2007

• Since my stent placement DES I have been losing weight and it will not stop. I have lost approx. 38 pounds in the last 5 months. Has anyone else encountered this problem?? If so, what was the cause if you know?
Norman Z., Michigan, USA, May 16, 2007

• Hi everyone; greetings from Down Under. I had a BMS put into my RCA eight years ago. I was only 46 and till then very fit and healthy. I did not have a heart attack, but suddenly developed angina and coronary artery cramps. During an angiogram my RCA was called as being 99% blocked! For two years afterwards, I felt as though I had someone inside my chest repeatedly jabbing me with a knife, or similar sharp object. It was disconcerting, to say the least. I also developed severe tinnitus. However, all the pains gradually subsided and became very intermittent and I learned to live with it. The more active I was, the better I felt. Unfortunately, the ringing in my ears persists to this day. Some say the meds are the cause, others say no. I just live with it and get on with things. Three months ago I had a sudden heart attack and the BMS reblocked. I was so bad I was flown to Melbourne (the capital city of Victoria) by helicopter. In the cath lab they called my RCA as 99% occluded again. Now, that was a close call! They tell me the damage to the heart is minimal, but I probably wont be able to climb Mt. Everest. Ever since, I have been feeling a million dollars. For around three weeks I would suddenly get very tired during the day; like running into a brick wall. So, I would have a sleep, maybe for a half hour, maybe for a couple of hours and then I would be fine again. Now, I feel great. No pains, no aches and I can chase my kids all round the park and apart from being so out of breath after a chase that I am leaning on a fence gasping for air, I have no ill effects. In fact, the more active I am, the better I feel. The sad part of this story is that just prior to my heart attack, I stopped taking my medications - Plavix included. I was doing some high stress work for the Federal Government, often in isolated areas and just not able to get to a Doctor to get my prescriptions renewed - and I paid the price. They now have me on aspirin as well as the Plavix and I am aspirin intolerant. Aspirin gives me very, very severe indigestion. Fortunately I may only have to take it as an adjunct to Plavix for a year. I am now trying coated aspirin. Don't forget, that a stent is a foreign object in the body. Some bodies react very badly to foreign objects. Mine did and hence all the weird and wonderful pains after I was given the BMS. The new stent is a Cypher DES and it is inside the old one. It is designed to slow down the growth of cells and so, logically, the body can't react to it the way mine did eight years ago. Consequently, I am amazingly comfortable. Amazingly, I am still fit and active. My kids are still very young ( the youngest is only six) so I have to be. Again, the more active I am the better I feel. What is often not addressed, is the psychological aspects of heart problems, particularly when invasive surgery has taken place. You feel invaded and you know the problem is very serious, because that's why the doctors intervened. In a nutshell, it's all very scary. I try to just get on with it,stay positive, ignore aches and pains if they surface and be as active as I possibly can. My indigestion is nothing compared to the possibility of being in a cemetery. Never again will I forget my pills and tablets for any reason. I take my hat off to modern medicine, because with out it, I wouldn't be here.
John Keily, Rosedale, Victoria, Australia, May 16, 2007

• OK, it has been over 5 months since my one stent DES was put in and I am still feeling very tired, weak, chest pain, etc. I am curious as to, is this the way life is now going to be forever?? Are people that are having these symptoms, dying off?? What is going on? Please let us know.
Norman Z., Michigan, USA, May 15, 2007

• Anna -- certainly if you don't feel well, you should discuss this with your doctor, preferably the interventional cardiologist who stented you. But your symptoms may not be related to the stent. Allergic reactions to stents are uncommon, but obviously, as this Forum attests to, some are experiencing them. More common are side-effects from drugs you may not have been taking prior to the stenting. For example, ACE inhibitors sometimes cause coughing. Statins can cause muscle and joint pain. As for worrying, there's a new study out this week that worrying can definitely affect heart health and that doctors should be more attentive to helping with this. Often an adjustment of medications can make a major difference. Let us know how you fare.

And Terrie from Ohio -- thank you so much for updating us all on your experiences. We too hope the Texas study reveals some information. This is a problem that obviously some patients are experiencing. Even though it may be rare, it ain't rare if it's you! We second your call to others to continue posting and updating this Forum -- it's just about the only place where this issue is being discussed.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, May 15, 2007

• July 6th of this year I had 3 Cypher stents put in the LAD. Ever since I have not felt well. Chest discomfort, coughing, and constant worrying. I have also gotten some fatty tumors so they say that's what they are on different parts of my body. I was reading the book the other day that came with the card to carry, because of the stenting and I read that the medication that is in the cypher stent Sirolimus can cause tumor formation, also joint pain. I was wondering if anyone has noticed that they have gotten any fatty tumors since they received the stents and didn't realize that this may be what they are from. I'm at my wits end. I was also wondering if I should mention this to my doctor. I don't want to look like I'm nuts. But this does seem to make some sense of why I have these tumors and are they really just fatty tumors. I would appreciate any insight you may have. Thanks, Annie,
Anna, Parkton, Maryland, USA, May 8, 2007

• Back once again with a update to my previous posting of November 4, 2006! Bill has went through the testing with the University of Texas for possible stent allergies. He had a slight reaction (redness of the skin), his doctor said it was too slight to indicate a reaction. He then had to have a nuclear test on his whole body to check for inflammation. This test showed inflammation in the area of the mouth. The doctor's don't think this has anything to do with the stent because inflammation wasn't found anywhere else but have no idea what is causing it. The doctor said he is sure it is not the stent but still can't rule it out. He also said he could not remove Bill's stent because of where it is in the heart. The doctor also said there are no more tests to run on him and the only suggestion he could make is to go on a low dose of a prednisone and if it helps he may have to stay on it the rest of his life. Bill is not considering this at this time. Bill has had problems with his mouth, sore throat, hoarse and all kinds of skin problems which started with the stent. The last 3 weeks he has been able to use polygrip for the first time since the stent. Everything else is the same-symptoms come and go.

The tests and films were sent to the University of Texas a month ago and they are to let us know what they think of all this. We found out from a friend of ours that has the same doctor as my husband that our doctor told him Bill is a rare case. He is allergic to something in the stent. He has had other cases but the symptoms usually go away after 6 months but Bill's hasn't. After 20 months I have little hope he will get better. Bill's doctor has never told him what he told this other person but still says he is sure it is not the stent but can't rule it out either. Bill has told his doctor all along he thought it was the stent. Now, at this point in time, it has to be the stent or some weird syndrome caused from plavix, etc, that he was on for awhile. Bill and these other people on this forum are not from the twilight zone with some alien disease. In my opinion, Bill's doctor has known this forever and we have just been on a witch hunt. Bill and I are where the doctors want us - giving up and just dealing with it day to day on our own. They can't do anything about it so just go away and deal with it. As for the medical profession there has been entirely too much miscommunication, no communication and poor ethics. If we hear from Texas University we will let the forum know. I think the study in Texas once completed may give us some interesting data but that is probably a year to 2 years in the making. I hope others follow through with the study as it may be the only hope of any answers for us on the forum. Thanks again for listening and would love to hear how some of the forum group is doing that we have not heard from in a long while.
Terrie Blanton, Hamilton, Ohio, USA, May 6, 2007

• Linda -- when you say "blood clots", we assume you mean blockages? It sounds like what happened was that your husband went for a diagnostic angiogram -- a test to see if his arteries had blockages. One question is why he saw the cardiologist in the first place? Was he having symptoms? Chest pain? In any case, usually cardiologists tell their patients who are having an diagnostic angiogram that if they see a blockage that definitely needs opening up, they can do it right there and then, adding only 20 or 30 minutes to the procedure, rather than bringing them back on another day and going through the whole needle puncture of the groin artery etc., all over again. Sounds like you and your husband did not understand this -- sounds like better communications were needed. (By the way, angioplasty/stenting is technically not "surgery".) Anyway, here's our recommendation, because we (or any other internet site) should not be giving out medical advice. Talk to your husband's cardiologist. Let him/her know that you were disturbed when you found out that an intervention was done and that you weren't prepared for that. Maybe they'll say it was in the consent form -- and maybe it was -- but the fact remains, you weren't prepared for it. But communications aside, don't let the problems that your husband is experiencing go unreported. Some of the symptoms you list may be drug-related (drugs often affect the elderly more, and tiredness, shortness of breath, and especially bleeding, if your husband is on Plavix and aspirin, are drug side-effects. But DO NOT (that's capitalized for a reason) stop or change your medications without discussing this with your husband's cardiologist. Stopping Plavix, for example, can be very dangerous. It is unfortunate that he (and you) feel distrust at this point. But it sounds like you have a reason. Poor communication may not seem like a big deal, but sometimes has profound effects. Maybe this can be resolved when you explain yourselves to your cardiologist. We would hope so. And that as you go forward, adjustments to medications, etc. can be made, and that you and your doctor can work together to achieve a better result. Please let us know how things go. And thanks for sharing your story.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, May 5, 2007

• My husband is 85 years old. He has high blood. Last year November 27, 2006 the heart doctor stated that he needed to go to the hospital as an outpatient to check and see if he had any blood clots. We did exactly what the doctor stated us to do that day. The next thing we knew he was having surgery in which we was not inform of by the doctor. He stated that he just wanted to check to see if my husband had any blood clots not surgery. Anyway we was betrayed by the doctor and now my husband is having a lot of problems since that surgery. The doctor stated that he had two blood clots but they could only unclot one because of his age and health condition. Now today he suppose of went back for the second blood clot on April 3, 2007 but my husband is afraid to go back to the doctor. Now he's having more difficult problem breathing; tingling in the hands and feet; coughing up blood; nose bleed and running nose constantly; constantly belching and chest pain; feet swells up; sleep all day; tired and depress; lack of memory forgetful; lost of appetite etc. I do not know what else to do for him because he's afraid of any doctor now and I cannot get him to go back for a checkup on this follow up from surgery to find out what is going on with his health. We don't know if he has the Drug-Eluting Stent or the Bare-Metal Stent that could be causing Allergic Reaction or Side Effects.
Linda Jones, Fresno, California, USA, May 4, 2007

• Brian H. I just want you to know that I too had tingling in the hands and feet and it finally went away. It took about 3 or 4 months before it went away. I too still have some symptoms of discomfort and am taking place in a stent study in Texas. Please let us know how you are doing.
Norman, Michigan, USA, April 30, 2007

• Lisa from Traverse City, Michigan. I had a stent put in after taking Plavix for 10 days. A month later I began having terrible continuous belching, so loud people in the next room could hear me. The doctors finally decided after 2 months that I had an infection in my stomach.
Bernie, Illinois, USA, April 18, 2007

• Has anyone out there experienced unexplainable burping after being put on plavix? My father-in-law had a stent put in last fall and then put on Plavix. He has this burping that is a mystery to the doctors in our area. Any ideas???
Lisa, Traverse City, Michigan, USA, April 17, 2007

• i am a 55 yo male with 6 stents and double bypass. 2 stents were put in after the bypass. the last 2 were taxus stents. the stent clogged up 21 days after the insertion. i have constant chest pain and my blood pressure goes up and down, with the high so far was 232/126. i am constantly tired and depressed, so depressed i left my wife because i felt like i was no good to her. the last stent was put in the 1st septal [branch] which caused the mi and my doctor stated he had gotten into a lot of trouble by the head of the cath lab for putting the stent there, why do doctors do this? i am totally disabled due to the pain and breathing prob.
Ray G., Maryland, USA, April 13, 2007

• Thanks for your quick response. I have just talked to my doctor's nurse who tried to tell me that stainless steel did not contain nickel, and that if I had concerns, the doctor would not perform the procedure. (I think I was fired as a patient?) I am suppose to contact her with my decision to proceed this afternoon.
Jean R., Tennessee, USA, April 10, 2007

• Jean -- Please be advised that we are not doctors and thus do not offer "medical advice". Any information or opinion from our web site should not be used as a substitute for medical advice from a licensed MD. That being said, we can tell you that all medical devices come with a DFU (Directions for Use) which is produced by the manufacturer and required by the FDA. Pretty much every DFU for stents which are made of stainless steel (which also contains nickel) warn that in some patients, these devices may cause allergic reactions to the metal. For example, the DFU for the TAXUS stent reads, under WARNINGS: "Patients with known hypersensitivity to 316L stainless steel may suffer an allergic reaction to this implant." The Cordis CYPHER stent (as well as most bare metal stents) have similar warnings. A web page from the FDA that addresses this problem can be found at: Hope we've been of help. Good luck.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, April 10, 2007

• I had a heart catheterization last Thursday and they want to proceed with a stent later this week. After doing my homework and realizing the stent is made of metal containing nickel, I called my doctor's office and informed the nurse of my severe reaction to nickel. She indicated that she had not heard of a problem and would check. No one has called me back. Should I be concerned, should I cancel the procedure. Help.
Jean R., Tennessee, USA, April 10, 2007

• I recently sent this letter to the Stent Study group. Hope it helps someone. Correspondence welcome:

I first heard about your study regarding potential allergic reactions to drug eluding stents through the Forum at: I am very interested in participating in it. I have had two Cordis/Cypher stents placed. One in December of 2004 and the second in January of 2005. I began experiencing strange body reactions within the first two days and before I left the hospital with the first one. The early symptoms were hot flashes with a body rash and intermittent itching, usually followed by body chills. The assumption was that I was having an allergic reaction to the contrast die from the angiograms. I had had several of them before with no reactions at all. Once I arrived at home I experienced daily nausea, extreme headaches, slight shortness of breath, tingling in my face, tongue, throat, hands and toes, dizziness and an intermittent bright red rash from head to toe. Not necessarily all simultaneously. These side effects were strong enough to be debilitating. As you might imagine the medical opinion was that new the Plavix therapy I was on was the cause so I was then prescribed Ticlid instead. My symptoms persisted so I was taken off both and remained on only a daily 325mg dose of enteric aspirin. There was no change in my symptoms. I have repeatedly communicated these symptoms to my cardiologists and primary physician who look at me like I have two heads when I mention the possibility of an adverse reaction to the stents. Apparently these reactions are rare. One cardiologist did change some of the blood pressure (Toprol) and cholesterol medications (Lipitor) I was on with no change. I have subsequently seen a neurologist, ENT specialist, allergist, and dermatologist. Both the cardiologist and allergist have requested samples of the stents so a skin patch test can be performed. The manufacturer has failed to reply to these repeated requests or even contact one of us. All of this is quite stressful and I am desperately seeking some answers. Can you help me? Thank You.

Brian H., retired, Massachusetts, USA, April 5, 2007

• My husband had 6 DES stents implanted in April 2006. In September he started developing a rash, started itching, etc. He has seen a dermatologist, has tried several meds, creams, etc. Nothing works. Please forward us any information you may have regarding the study, etc. Thanks.
Joyce P., Indiana, USA, April 2, 2007

• My father in law has been seeing his cardiologist and working on a eliminating various drugs from his system, one at a time, since this started. They did replace Plavix with another drug quite some time ago, with no success. They have since then replaced other drugs in his repertoire (he has about 12 total to control his heart condition, diabetes, arthritis, blood pressure, etc.) That is why his case is so complicated. From reading the forum and the fact that the rashing started about 3 days after surgery, we are suspicious it is a stent allergy. Especially since he has not responded to the drug elimination. In addition to this, no steriods or other anti-itch medications have been able to help him. He also had a great deal of swelling in his legs and constant water leakage. The water leakage has been controlled at this time by the use of ace bandages. Your study seems like something we would be very interested in. Especially since it is only a skin test that his doctor can do. He actually has an appointment tomorrow. We will bring this email in to show him. I will also contact the stent allergy study.
P.A., Maryland, USA, March 24, 2007

• Elaina and Bob -- your suspicion is a good one, although it is very hard to say for sure, which is why the group of cardiologists who first described the hypersensitivity reaction to drug-eluting stents in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology are now engaged in a study to find out more. The reactions you describe are similar to what has been posted on this topic here and what the cardiologists have seen. We encourage you to email us for more information on the study. They may be able to identify the source and help.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, March 14, 2007

• I too am one of the people who suffer severe joint pain. I do have arthritis, but since the taxus DES's were implanted I am getting to the point that Its really tough sometimes to even walk. Getting off the sofa sometimes can be a chore because of the pressure I have to put on my knees. My son even bought me a cane to help me walk. I also take plavix and aspirin everyday, I have for 22 months but am scared to come off because I have already had stent thrombosis once, and believe me, I don't want it again. I'm glad to be alive, but didn't know I was going to have to suffer this much. My hand even aches as I type this.
Bob P., Snellville, Georgia, USA, March 12, 2007

• My husband is 54 and had a stent put in 18 months ago, and at a year he broke out with the worst hives and rashes and welts all over his body even the palms of his hands broke out and itched. He also gets congested in his lungs and a low grade fever. We have been to our family doctor and dermatologist. For the past two months, all they give him is shots of steroids and oral ones to take at home. If he tries to go off of them it starts all over again. This is not and environmental allergy it is coming from inside his body and the only thing in him is this stent. Now they want to test him for allergies but this is not a typical allergy it is so severe. Has anyone else had this after having a stent for over a year? We have been to five different doctors and they can't figure it out. I really feel it has something to do with the stent. Is this possible?
Elaina , North Carolina, USA, March 11, 2007

• George -- thanks for writing in your positive non-allergic experience. It's a good reminder that having the kinds of reactions one reads about on this Forum topic is not what everyone experiences. In fact the vast majority of patients don't experience these problems. That being said, the reason this Forum exists is to give a voice to that minority.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, March 11, 2007

• Adding my experience. A DES was inserted into my Left Anterior Descending Artery on 2 March due to 95% blockage. For the record I felt better within 12 hours of the procedure. I returned to a strong powerful feeling in my chest. My stamina is way up to last year's levels so I have to watch my exhuberance to drive up to my past peak. I am one of those anomalies. Health conscious, don't eat fast food, maybe ate pizza 4x per year, usually eat oatmeal yogurt, that sort of diet. Until I broke my ankle last year I was cycling 3x week @ 20-30 miles each and did strength training. I am describing myself because I had no heart damage whatsoever. The cardio guy said my heart muscle had extra circulation from my aerobics. So the stent essentially opened up the flow. So far no sensation in my chest or the Aspirin/Plavix/Tomoprol/Vytorin regime. I have further changed my diet to that of a cow.
George, Clermont, Florida, USA, March 10, 2007

• Dear Forum, Thanks for sending information about the "Stent Allergy Study". It's good to know someone (a cardiologist) is studying this possible allergy. Yes, my stent was a drug eluting stent. I may have only had 1. They had talked about 2 but it may only be 1. The drs. seem to find an explanation for these problems but I know I haven't been the same since the stent placement. I had hoped to be a model heart patient if there is such a thing ha. By doing all i was told would be good for my health and heart, but it hasn't worked out that way, unfortunately. I will talk to my Dr. again about possible allergy when i see her and also let her know about the study. Then I may email the cardiologist who is doing the study. BY the way, what is the side of the drs and cardiologists on the subject of stent allergies? It might be good to see both sides patients and Drs. Thanks,
Paul T., Illinois, USA, March 6, 2007

• Thank you so much for returning my email with information about a possible allergy to the drug stents themselves. My mother had two drug eluting stents put in in October 2006 and immediately started having allergic reactions,including hives, rashes, itching, joint and nerve pain. Her cardiologists took the normal course of action to see if this reaction was to her Plavix. Six months later, my mom has been on Plavix, Clopidogrel, Ticlid, Altace, and a variety of others and her allergic reactions have not ceased. She is being treated for these reactions, but the cardiologists have come to the conclusion that she is allergic to the stents themselves. My mother does have a history of severe allergies to medications. Mom's condition is getting worse and she was told she could be looking at having more stents put in. She is refusing this because of the "nightmare" she calls it of the last 6 months of allergic reactions. Any information you can provide is extremely helpful and please put my comments on your forum, including this one today. Your forum has already encouraged mom because she now knows she is not going through this alone. Thank you for all your help.
Kathy A., Oklahoma, USA, March 5, 2007

• had mi in nov 05, had 2 stents placed in LAD, not sure if bare metal or des.For last 12 months have had continual lower chest and back discomfort,i.e. soreness, feels like a rash, but not showing on skin. Had 2 stress tests, both negative, cardiologist has no idea what it is. If I lay down symptoms go away, but I still have them sitting down, any thoughts anyone?
Ken, London, UK, March 4, 2007

• My companion had two stents implanted in Nov., 2007. He experiences lethargy, "funny feeling" in chest, heartburn, hiccups. His blockage was 70% and he felt well before the stents. Now he sleeps and is unable resume normal life-style. He takes Plavix and regular strength aspirin. Symptoms were so bad one week after surgery that angioplasty was done to check stents, with no problem found. Any help appreciated.
B.C., Kentucky, USA, March 3, 2007

• Steve Florida - Thanks for your response, glad to tell you my history - in december 2005 I went to my doctor (GP) with the following symptoms tightness in the chest, weird pain across the shoulders, and pain / weird feeling of numbness/pins & needles in left arm & severe discomfort in the throat/neck, all this when I walked & occasionally when at rest. He diagnosed possible Angina & put me on Bisoprolol 2.5 mg and sent referral to cardiac dept in local hospital, for some reason as yet not known I did not get to see a cardiologist until October 2006 when I had an exercise test (which showed a problem) from then on things moved a lot quicker, at the end of November I had an angiogram - this showed the right hand coronary artery was almost blocked (90%+) but this side of my heart was being partially fed by what they called backwash from the left side, it seems I had developed small blood vessels to feed the right side (this is not unusual so I'm told) It seems my doctor (GP) putting me on the beta blocker (bisoprolol) stopped a possible heart attack. I was admitted to hospital on 31st January 07, went for balloon angioplasty & stent on 1st Feb - I went on the table @ 9am all ok until contrast dye was injected when I had allergic reaction to this iodine based product - this was sorted OK - artery was totally blocked, cardiologist opened this with the balloon and placed 2 DES - went back to the ward and felt better straight away - no more pain since, I take plavix, simvastatin - aspirin, (stopped Bisoprolol 2 weeks ago) I should point out that during the time I waited for angiogram I could only walk about 50 - 100 yds without pain/indigestion - nitroglycerine spray only gave severe headaches.
David W., England UK, March 2, 2007

David W from England: Thank you very much for posting a response. You are indeed the first person I personally ever heard of who actually felt better after a DES stent was implanted. And I have communicated with dozens and read hundreds of posts all over the internet. Your post did make an impression on me. If anyone else has had a true benefit in chest discomfort from a DES stent, please also post. I and all of us would of course like to hear from you too. It at least gives us hope, and an interest to make sure there are no other causes of any chest pain or other problems. My problem of constant chest pain started immediately after the DES stent was implanted. David, your stent is apparently very new. Did you actually ever have a heart attack? Or just a stent on a doctor's recommendation. What exactly were your symptoms/problems before the stent was implanted, i.e., med history? It has been posited that if one had an MI, then the results of DES stenting are far less beneficial, and chest pain may actually increase substantially. How much better are you? Your post was very brief. Very curious. Thanx.
Steve, Florida , March 1, 2007

• Eli -- the original purpose of angioplasty was to relieve angina. If you are experiencing angina more after stenting than you were before, then something is not working right. Have you had a followup angiogram or other test to determine if the stent is functioning correctly? Also check out our related topic called, "Not Feeling Well After Stenting".
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, March 2, 2007

• hi i am 44 yrs old and live in uk . i had a heart attack in nov 06 and a cypher stent placed on 2nd feb 07. My problem is i am in so much pain with angina now than what i was before stent was fitted. before i had the stent i could cope with the pain but now it seems to be there most of the time and radiates down both my arms it makes me cry, the pain is waking me up at night too. i was admitted to hospital put on infusion of nitro which helped but was discharged with pain killers next day i couldn't believe it. i have since paid private to see a cardiologist and have been given isosorbide mononitrate this doesn't stop my pain completely but takes the nasty edge off it and makes it easier for me to tolerate. i wish i never had the stent. my life has changed so much i cant do what i did before i hate it . could this be an allergy to the stent or unstable angina. thanks
Eli, Sheffield, England, February 28, 2007

• Dawn -- check out the right-column side bar. There is a group of cardiologists in Texas who are conducting research on hypersensitivity to drug-eluting stents. They are developing a protocol for testing this and are looking for patients who may be experiencing these kinds of unknown symptoms post-DES. Click on the email link and we'll send you contact information.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, February 27, 2007

• Hi everyone, I have posted here before. Still having issues related to skin, others have mentioned rashes. In my prior posting I noted that I have what appears to be a rash but the dermatologists are calling it Granuloma Annulare. Has anyone else with rash or rash appearing marks gone to dermatologist? and gotten same diagnosis. They still say they don't know for sure what causes it and I really do feel it is related to the stents I have. I have known metal allergies to anything other than gold and sterling silver. I went to Mayo and their diagnosis was the same, when I questioned the metal stents or the medicated stents as factors, they quickly said "No" but for not knowing what causes this they sure did not ask questions to try to find connections between those that have this Granuloma Annulare. A gal I know, her husband had medicated stents after I did and she said he has developed a rash that looks like mine but on his chest. Does anyone out there have the same?
Dawn Reich, St. Paul, Minneapolis, USA, February 26, 2007

• I wonder if anybody found any over the counter help for the rashes. I have two stents and three rashes -- one on each ankle and one in the middle of my chest which only recently seems to have cleared up. Both of the remaining rashes are small, round and refuse to go away. Web searches have told me nothing (and no, these are not ringworm or Lyme disease related). I also have the in the ear, behind the ear, around the eyes and around the nose dry/flaky skin so any info for that would also be helpful...
Robert, February 21, 2007

• To Steve in Florida, Feb 12 -- I think you may be getting a distorted view of the viability of the DES, Forums usually only seem to attract people who have had problems and are looking for a way to resolve them which is perfectly understandable, most people go to a forum looking for answers that they are not getting from their doctors. I had 2 DES fitted 2.2.07. and it is like a magic wand has been waved, no more angina pain, I can walk for miles with no discomfort (as opposed to 50 yards), I do need to regain some fitness as I have been almost inactive for over a year but that is coming back slowly, I have very mild 'cold / flu' symptoms that may be side effects from one of the drugs but I can live with that,other than this all is good so far.
David W., England UK, February 21, 2007

• Cheryl -- it's not correct that the "drug dissolves in two weeks". The Cypher has a "nominal elution period" of 90 days, although most of the drug is eluted in the first 30. The Taxus also elutes a controlled dose in the first 30, although, depending on the version used (slow or moderate release) 70-90% of the paclitaxel drug stays in the polymer (is never eluted). But the polymer (plastic) coating stays on the stent. With the current Taxus or Cypher, it does not degrade and the cardiologists who are studying allergic reactions to DES are pretty sure that it is the polymer coating that is causing the allergic reactions. The protocol they have developed for their study is pretty straight-forward and can be administered by a family physician -- it involves stopping meds one by one, but only under their protocol for safety reasons. Then a special skin test is done and the eosinophils are measured (a type of white blood cell). A nickel allergy will not increase the eosinophils.

And Steve from Florida -- you've posted a number of times and we hear you -- especially that you've had nothing but trouble. There are problems with these devices in some situations, which are being identified. But your blanket statements about stents being harmful to everyone and that no one has ever been helped by them is just not correct. Six million people worldwide have been stented -- the big picture results don't show a catastrophe in the making. A close friend of ours would not be alive today if stents and angioplasty did not exist. However, there is no question that DES have been over-used in this country. That is now changing -- and newer hopefully better second generation devices are coming. Surgery has its downsides as well, for example, impairment of cognitive function is a well-documented side-effect of bypass surgery.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, February 20, 2007

• Well I am back posting because even the Mayo Clinic has no idea how to help my friend. Cardiologist is sorry this has happened to her, but there seem to be no answers for her. The testing has been extensive and even the cardiologist agrees since nothing else is wrong with her then it probably is an allergy to the nickel, you will note I said PROBABLY..even after all tests came back negative no one is willing to admit that this is an allergy. Where do we go from here??? The one suggestion was for a pain study group, but she has been to a pain specialist group before and their only suggestion was for morphine which is something she is not willing to do. The "storms" appear to be happening less frequently, but I have also suggested she use COQ10 and magnesium as supplements to some of the other medications she is on, since so many of the medications she is on cause muscle and joint pain. The swelling of her joints does appear to be a little more bearable, the rash is still an all over rash to include her throat (which children's benadryl seems to ease), but how much benadryl can one person take? I feel so strongly that this allergy is something that should be considered for every single person that is even discussing stents with their doctors, I have spoken to several people and just my random discussions seem to prove to me that a significant number of people suffer from this allergy. I have discussed the stent allergy study to her, but I am not so sure that she is interested in being subjected to more testing, she is pretty fed up with doctors right now. She also is not having a reaction to the drug on the stent, she is having a reaction to the nickel in the stent. She has been told that the medication on the stent dissolves within two weeks of the procedure, so she knows, or feels relatively sure the reaction is to the actual stent which cannot be removed.
Cheryl, Phoenix, Arizona, USA, February 17, 2007

Update to the Forum -- My cardiologist is changing my meds to Ticlid, although I have to wait for it to arrive at the pharmacy. After seeing my PCP yesterday to check my rash, he recommended that I not discontinue the Plavix until I had the Ticlid. He suggested that I may like Claritin better as it would not cause the drowsiness of the Benadryl (I was taking 50mg). I did take the Claritin, as well as quartering the Plavix tablet and taking the quarters over a period of a couple hours. Currently, the rash has almost disappeared, and the itching is well within tolerable limits. The Ticlid has not arrived at the pharmacy yet, and I am now considering continuing the Plavix a while longer to see if my body will adapt (I am encouraged by the University of Iowa study). The Dr informed me that the Ticlid comes with a requirement of CBC blood tests every two weeks and they would leave me on it for 3 months. The plan for the Plavix was for 12 months minimum. They also plan a nuclear stress test in 3 months, to be followed by another catheterization to check on the stent's progress. If it turns out that the rash returns after changing to Ticlid, I will contact the stent allergy study. Thanks for your response and your forum.
George C., Florida, USA, February 13, 2007

• I have talked to dozens of DES stent recipients, and read hundreds of posts on all kinds of heart related web forum sites, in addition to this PTCA site. There are many heart related sites on the net. I have never talked to or read a post from anyone at all who actually said that their stent made them feel "better", or that they truly felt the stent overall improved their condition. (Though their doctors may have told them so). All have told that their DES stent(s) made them feel much worse. I have only read of one single person (personally) who simply said their DES stent left them "about the same", but not worse. I think those reading this will have had the same witness of reports by those they have talked to about their stent experience. It almost always bad. This is not the situation with bypass, for example. I have talked to a number of people that felt their bypass at least lessened their angina, for example. Though the reports post bypass were not perfect, some people I have read or talked to actually were glad they had a bypass, especially those who had the single vessel robotic, minimally invasive technique. What does this tell us about the DES stent, compared to bypass, or preventive medicine, EECP, or many other methods that many report satisfaction from. The DES stent is obviously a poorly conceived product, that does not "work" in people to improve quality of life. It is something that doctors should stop putting in people, as they were warned in September by the World College of Cardiology meeting. In europe, doctors are turning away form the DES stents significantly after this meeting. In the US the doctors are continuing to endanger and harm thousands of people each week by putting these DES stents in people.
Steve, Florida, USA, February 12, 2007

• George -- Our quick recommendation in your case is to discuss the possibility of a Plavix allergy with your interventional cardiologist, really the best person to make any adjustments in your treatment. If he/she thinks you may be having an allergic reaction to Plavix, it may be possible to switch to an earlier (although related) drug called Ticlid (ticlopidine). We're also sending you information on the "Stent Allergy Study".
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, February 12, 2007

• I had a Cypher stent inserted in the proximal area of the LAD six days ago (100% blockage, supplemented by collateral growth of the RCA). Initially, I thought I was having an allergic reaction to the adhesive on the electrode pads, since the rashes seemed to be concentrated in those areas, Today, the rash has spread covering much of the upper torso, front and back. I began taking clopidogrel 75mg immediately after the catheterization (initial dose may have been higher, it was more than a couple pills), been taking a daily 325mg aspirin for years prior. The itching is fairly severe, and does not seem to respond to benadryl, either orally or topical cream. Found by Google search looking for similar symptoms, and advice for relief. Not sure what your study entails, but would be interested in participating.
George C., Florida, USA, February 11, 2007

• Brenda -- can you be more specific as to what type of pain? Is it angina (chest pain?) Also where is it and when did it start? Has he had any follow-up angiograms or stress tests to determine if the stents are open?
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, February 10, 2007

• Hi my husband had 4 medicated stents put in 1 yr 2 months ago.And is having so much pain from it i am so tired of doctors telling us that they have never heard of anyone having any problems with the stents and now i sit here and read and all i can do is cry for him and all of you. because no one seems to care about any of us. I don't no how long my husband can go on with the pain. he is 55 and was real active, now he can hardly move and all i hear is they can't see why is there no help for us!!!!
Brenda W., Idaho, USA, February 9, 2007

Update of posting from October 2006 where I was asking about a driver stent. My husband was in great pain in his legs and hips, progressed to almost unable to walk, using walking cane and considering a walker. All tests re: arthritis which the Dr. insisted it was came back negative. Suddenly the condition disappeared after 6 months of excruciating pain in joints. The thinking now is that it is rare but that some people may be caused by trauma after the stent is installed. Hope this is of some comfort to others with this condition.
Nora, Canada, February 7, 2007

• Wow, Thought I was alone until I read many stories about the pain we still suffer, have suffered and the ignorance of the medical community as well as the fact that many docs simply aren't willing to listen. Follow the money. I wasn't given stent cards, info or diagnosed properly either. Still in pain looking for answers and almost every posting rings similar. two heart attacks, last one caused by clotting and six stents later few if any will own up to the fact that First Do No Harm is second to First make a buck. Your stories and experiences are important to me as you are the ones whom really understand what these stents are doing to us. Keep fighting, Keep talking and Never Give up and Don't be afraid to fire a few docs. As for me I won't take dying lying down. Thanks again for this site It can/and has made a huge difference. I stumbled on it in October of 06 after all my docs had no explanation and even less information.
Mike S., Florida, USA, February 6, 2007

• Sheila -- Can't say if such an allergy "runs in the family", but the fact that your doctor has been made aware and is treating the possibility is good. Our mission is helping communications between doctors and patients, so each can do his/her job in improving the patient's health.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, February 6, 2007

• I sure do appreciate all of your information. Can I ask one more question? my father is allergic to the dye they use for angiograms. do you think that is a family trait? (the dye allergy) my Dr. does know about this and is planning some sort of pre-treatment, steroids I think, but not sure. Thanks again, and I will be taking this with me on "A" day for my dr.
Sheila, Arizona, USA, February 5, 2007

• Sheila -- Some stents are made of cobalt-chromium, but they also have nickel. Has it been determined if you are allergic to nickel?? The possible advantage of bare metal stents (as opposed to drug-eluting) is that you don't need long term antiplatelet therapy (aspirin plus Plavix) -- 4-6 weeks supposedly suffices. Bare metal stents also have a higher restenosis rate -- especially in certain cases. But you need to discuss these issues with your interventional cardiologist -- the one who will be doing your procedure. Good luck and let us know how things proceed!
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, February 5, 2007

• Hi! are there other stents available besides the stainless and the drug-eluting? I have spoken with the medical facility about these problems, they are also doing some research before they will do the angiogram. ideally, I wont need a stent. (wishful thinking!) however, it looks like I will with the comparison of my old tests to my new ones. Thanks for your reply.
Sheila, Arizona, USA, February 5, 2007

• Sheila -- Make sure that the cardiologist who is doing the angio knows these facts. An aspirin allergy and any metal allergy is something that should be known before an angio (we assume you mean angiogram, not angioplasty). If they decide to go ahead with treatment for a blockage, be aware that stents are made of surgical stainless steel, which contains nickel. They are contraindicated for patients with a known allergy to stainless steel. An allergy to aspirin might impact the decision as to whether or not to use a drug-eluting stent. Just make sure you communicate these facts clearly to the cardiologist, nurse, anyone that interacts with you. If possible, call them before you go in.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, February 5, 2007

• I was wondering how a stent would affect me if I have a metal allergy. I cannot wear jewelry that is less than 14k gold, and I cannot wear any silver or the jewelry that is plated in gold. also, I can only wear yellow gold, not the white or rose. I also have an aspirin allergy. I am scheduled for an angio possible on Friday. Thanks
Sheila, Arizona, USA, February 5, 2007

• What are some of the possible side effects of a drug eluted stent? My husband had one put in and I now worry what could happen, especially when no one ever mentioned any concerns.
Patricia S., Arkansas, USA, February 5, 2007

• Peter -- very detailed post (and to all posters, PLEASE try to keep them more concise -- if they're too long we try to edit them, but we just don't have that kind of time these days -- we're sure readers would prefer shorter posts). Anyway you've been on Plavix for over three years and (this is NOT medical advice) you're probably out of the woods vis-a-vis late stent thrombosis. But by all means do what your cardiologist recommends. Your story is a good one that emphasizes why drug-eluting stents were developed. You had bare metal stents that restenosed (re-blocked). Your drug-eluting stents seem to have stayed open (shingling and siding a house is not for the faint-hearted -- pun intended). The rash you describe could be due to many different causes -- since you were rash-free for three years post-stenting, it would be difficult to assign this as an allergy to the stent or to a drug. Drug allergies sometimes take time to manifest, but three years is a long time. Were there any changes to your meds around the time of your rash, and by meds we would include ANY over-the-counter meds or herbal supplements?
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 30, 2007

• Hi, I'm glad I happened on to this program, so I will add my experiences and questions. I am male, 72, been very active, hard working most of my life, I quit smoking in 1983. The 16 years before retirement in 2000, my work consisted of Airport Fire Chief and Maint. Supervisor. About 2001 I started experiencing shortness of breath. I have not, and still don't experience chest pain. Oct. 2002 a stress test sent me to the Cardiologist where and Angiogram confirmed my left Anterior Descending Mid Lab 99% plugged, which resulted in immediate Angioplasty with, "I believe," 2 ordinary stents through the groin. Not feeling any better by June 2003, tests identified continued problems, and an Angiogram in Sept. 2003 proved the stents plugged. The 2 stents were not long enough, so in Nov. 2003, 3 DEStents were inserted through the wrist. What was a personal mystery is that my cholesterol blood test results before my first angioplasty, was, total chol. 2.46, HDL 1.19, LDL 0.87, Trigl. 1.06 and total chol./HDL ratio 2.1 , but the Cardiologist related my problem to having smoked for some years. The discharge daily prescription was, 325mg aspirin, 160/12.5 Diovan HCT, 50mg Metoprolol, 20mg Lipitor and 75mg Plavix, with Plavix to be permanent. Nineteen days later, "on Dec.12, 2003," I experienced extreme pain like I was attacked by a bunch of pit bulls, starting in my throat, "which proved real scary," then went on to one ankle, to a wrist, and so on, usually in one or two places at a time, each lasting about a day to a day and a half. The Doctor felt it to be Lipitor side effects, so discontinued it, but the pain continued till Dec.30 -- a total of 20 days. Tylenol hardly touched the pain to where some nights I would try to walk it off.

From then on I can't say that I've experienced any allergies or side effects till about 3 months ago, when I came down with a progressing severe itch from the ankles, up the sides of the legs and half way up my back. It is a deep torturing itch that does not want to respond to scratching and keeps moving as I scratch. From the sounds of some letters, could this be a side effect from Metroprolol? I tried a prescribed cream without success, so after a home remedy hint, I lightly sprayed apple cider vinegar on with a cleaned windex bottle and rubbed it in, once a day for 3 days, each time the itch and pain subsided to complete relief within 10 to 30 mins., and now my rash is almost healed, with the itch and pain pretty well gone.

Lately I had one eye tested for cataract and the specialist made an appointment for surgery, with instructions to discontinue aspirin one week and Plavix 3 days before surgery, and to check with my Doctor, who says he does not think it will do any harm. Not feeling comfortable with all the scary information about stents and Plavix, I postponed surgery till Feb. or March and am now waiting for advice from the Cardiologist. I have now taken Plavix for more than three years, and I would very much like to discontinue it. I have been informed that garlic has antiplatelet, blood thinning, cholesterol fighting, blood/pressure and heart nutrients, and I question if there is any truth to this, that I may possibly trade Plavix for garlic? I am presently ambitious, reasonably active, taking my time I shingled and side'd my house the last 2 years, and shovel all my own snow without discomfort. [Editor's note -- this post has been edited for length.]
Peter B., Alberta, CANADA, January 29, 2007

• Janelle -- we're sorry to hear of your husband's problems. Sounds like he has a pretty complex medical history of vascular disease. One quick thought is that if he has a history of atherosclerosis in his coronaries AND his carotids, then it would be logical to assume that the disease may also be in his peripheral vessels, such as the leg, possibly the kidneys. Have these ever been checked? There are non-invasive tests like CTA or MRA that can either eliminate these areas or flag them for further diagnosis/treatment. Also you mention the Dr. -- is this the cardiologist who did his most recent stenting? Interventional cardiologists these days have moved into all the areas of the circulation and are doing angioplasty procedures in the kidneys, legs, carotids, etc.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 28, 2007

• My husband (almost 59, at the time) had 2 NIR stents placed in 09/2000. 2 days before he had a left carotid endarterectomy 6 mo. later, CABG and 2nd left carotid endarterectomy Has developed unusually bad case of peripheral neuropathy. No diabetes or metal toxicity, supposedly. All sorts of tests - no answer for neuropathy. 09/2006, had 1 Taxus Express2 stent placed. Was on lanoxin, inderal, 81mg aspirin, nexium, and then clopidogrel. Experienced pain and unstable blood pressure, like prior to last stent placement a few days later. ER decided it was due to spasms during adjustment to stent. Husband has had extreme constipation - dr. said not from clopidogrel. This went on for several months. Starting having arrhythmias and legs were hurting worse; also sores in mouth and on tongue and swelling of feet and legs. Dr. had him drop clopidogrel. Didn't replace it. Bowels are starting to return to normal. The arrhythmias persisted. Dropped lanoxin/inderal & added Toprol XL. Legs/joints/mouth are not improving. Arrhythmias are worse, yet. In fact they are so bad, he is now hoping for death. Blood pressure still unstable. Yesterday range was 196/98 - 88/44, and pulse 59 - down to 33. Running out of answers, and he feels he's running out of time. Don't know what to do.
Janelle B., Arkansas, USA, January 27, 2007

• Rodney -- we get so many posters who have a problem after stenting, and then are diagnosed with "heartburn" and given something to counter that. Each patient is an individual, so it is impossible to make broad judgements. Current guidelines (just issued) urge cardiologists to discuss the need for long term antiplatelet therapy with their patients BEFORE stenting is done. Aspirin can definitely upset your stomach, but do n't stop taking it (or Plavix) because antiplatelet therapy is important to continue. If you think you may be esome allergy to the stent, check out the right-hand sidebar. There is a study being done on this subject.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 26, 2007

• DES stent sep 2006. Was not told about coated vs uncoated and requirements for follow up meds. Asked doctor why I wasn't told about risks and he went into defense mode and clammed up like a stone. Put on Plavix, atenolol, aspirin, Vytorin. felt good 1st day muscle pain caused me to stop vytorin. Currently heart burn, chest pains, burning stomach. Had esophagus and stomach probe and scan. Nothing found. Diagnosis was esophagial spasm. In addition to the above I was put on Protonix and lorazipam. Protonix didn't help but Prilosec does. Helpers for relief are eating, drinking milk, coke, water. I take the prilosec when I wake up, wait a half hour then the atenolol and Plavix with a Slim Fast, pain starts up about 11 o'clock and increases until I eat something. I take the aspirin when I eat. Feel better for a couple of hours. In the evening I feel pretty good. I eat a big snack before bed time, and now wake up with no pain most of the time. If the pain gets real uncomfortable I take a nitro pill. This helps a lot. But I'm scared of them. I've gained 6 pounds and I want to go the other way. I'm blaming my problems on the aspirin and Plavix. This is scaring the **** out of me. Any help would be appreciated
Rodney Diehl, Gulf Shores, Alabama, USA, January 25, 2007

• I just wanted to give a quick update. My husband is participating in the stent allergy study and we have booked an appointment with an allergist for next week. His cardiologist agreed to it. He believes his allergic reaction was due to the ace inhibitor and so he has avoided prescribing that med or any med similar to it for fear that he will have a reaction. Now he believes that it might help in his recovery if he were on that type of drug so we are headed to the allergist. I'm hoping to receive info from the stent study doctors by then so that I can share their test protocol with the allergist. My husband's cardiologist also mentioned that he could be allergic to the dye that is used in the angiogram. I believe it is iodine-based. We're hoping to have him tested for that too. We are definitely feeling a little better about his situation and I thank the experts and people on this forum for that. We may not get all the answers that we need but at least we're trying to get enough information so that we'll be better prepared if there is another crisis. We'll also have some valuable information for our sons, who may have inherited their dad's illness and/or allergies.
Maria S, Belchertown, Massachusetts, USA, January 23, 2007

• Alan -- have you seen your interventional cardiologist? You may be experiencing side-effects of some of the medications you're on, but the cardiologist is the person to see. Also check out our topic on "Not Feeling Well After Stenting" -- anxiety, and some discomfort iseems to be a common complaint, but definitely see your cardio -- and let us know what you find out.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 22, 2007

• Greetings, I am interested in information regarding the reactions to stents study. I have one bare metal stent and one Taxus DES. These were both installed on January 5th 2006 after I had a moderate/severe MI. I continue to have symptoms such as those posted on Jan 12 by John G from Florida. So far all of the tests have shown good results and my MD is convinced my heart is functioning normally. He is reluctant to say the DES could be causing my problems but has no alternate explanation.
Ken C., British Columbia, Canada, January 17, 2007

• after having 3 drug eluting stents implanted in my right coronary artery in november 2006 [ full metal jacket] i have been back at emergency 7 times. Each time i go they do blood work and an ECG but everything is normal, What causes me to seek medical care is i get chest pain kind of like a nervous feeling in my chest with painful arms and also sometimes shortness of breath and nausea and also very painful neck muscles and shoulder muscles, all the symptoms of a heart attack and also anxiety. Has anyone else had these pains? i am wondering if it is maybe my meds i am on or the drugs eluting from the stents? i am on 20mg lipitor,325mg asa, 75mg plavix, 25mg metoprolol twice a day, 20mg pariet twice a day,50mg ratio sertaline and ramipril 2.5mg. Any info would be appreciated as it is frustrating the hell out of me.
Alan, British Columbia,Canada, January 16, 2007

Today she told me her rash is easing and becoming tolerable. Her doctor is sure it is the Ticlid. I will encourage her to participate in the study. My family all wondered why a test had not yet been developed to determine allergies prior to these procedures--especially since the stents cannot be removed! Thanks for the feedback.
Donna T., California, USA, January 15, 2007

• Donna, as you have indicated, the allergic reaction you describe might be related to Plavix (clopidogrel) which sometimes doesn't show up immediately. But don't stop taking any medications, especially Plavix, without getting a substitute, like Ticlid. And we encourage you to look into the stent allergy study we are working on.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 15, 2007

• Hello, I am writing on behalf of my 78 year old mother who has had nothing but trouble since receiving a total of 6 Cypher stents in a four-week period October 2006. She had a clot and heart attack after the first stent. The doctor pooh-poohed my questions about adverse reactions to medicated stents when I learned of what they had done. And everyone ignored the rash we pointed out prior to her release from the first procedure and the clot/heart attack. They actually upped the Plavix after the second set of stents was placed. She is also allergic to Ticlid. We heard second hand she is allergic to aspirin as well--need to verify that. The severe rash makes her miserable and she is always tired. Prior to all this she was an active healthy involved lady. We feel helpless. Please send info on the study so I can ask her to consider participating. I am going with her to her new cardiologists office today.
Donna T., California, USA, January 15, 2007

• TBS -- you are very specific in your test recommendartions. Are you a health care professional? And we disagree regarding Alice not telling her cardiologist. Patients should be open in communicating with their physicians and confident enough to ask questions.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 15, 2007

Alice - I think your mom could have lupus. The symptoms you describe are classic. The rash is called "butterfly rash." Sometimes it is drug induced. [If you wish, please post the names of the meds, including any vitamins and supplements -- editor]. Tell her to call her family doctor and get an appt. Don't tell the cardiologist! No one test has adequate sensitivity or specificity to detect all LA and both screening and confirmatory procedures are necessary. Screening assays for LA should be sufficiently sensitive and could include activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT), dilute aPTT, dilute Russel viper venom time (dRVVT), Kaolin clotting time (KCT), Taipan snake venom clotting time or silica clotting time. In evaluation of a patient for LA, at least two screening tests should be used. One of the two screening tests should be based on a low phospholipid requirement (such as dRVVT or KCT). If a single insensitive screening test is used, 80% of LA will be missed; whereas, if two appropriate screening tests are used, more than 90% of LA will be identified.11 The sensitivity of the aPPT depends on the reagents used, but even the new more sensitive aPTT assays are not as sensitive as the dRVVT for the detection of LA. A more sensitive assay should be used if the aPPT is normal and LA are still suspected.
TBS, Mississippi, USA, January 15, 2007

• Natalie -- excellent point. An interesting phenomenon is that of late stent mal-apposition. That is to say, in rare cases, well after a stent is implanted, it winds up not fitting as well as it did originally (i.e. it is "mal-apposed"). This definitely is a risk factor for thrombosis. Why the "fit" of the stent changes is not known, but inflammation is a good guess.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 13, 2007

• Has anyone considered the role of inflammation to the drug eluting stent. Inflammation, especially with a tendency to clot, is a recipe for some of these symptoms.
Natalie, Virginia, USA, January 12, 2007

• John -- check out the stent allergy study (right side-bar) and email us for more information.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 12, 2007

• Since having 3 stents inserted, one being a Cordis Cypher in Jan 04 and two additional stents (Taxus Express 2) put in in Aug 04, four months later began some serious problems with chest pain, swelling in chest on left side going up into the neck and down the left arm. Tightness in chest restricting my breathing. Test negative. 1st Attack 4 months (December 05) later same symptoms, test and treatment with anti inflammatory, muscle relaxers, pain control. 2nd attack (April 06) again 4 months later.. taken off Statin therapy at this time, Same test same Results, No heart problem, no infection, and no explanation for the excessive swelling, pain and so forth. 3th Attack, Aug 06, Same test same results, same treatment. Now again Jan 07, ER room visit, same test, same results. Now scheduled for follow up with EKO Cardio test looking for fluid around the heart. could this be allergic reactions to the Cordis Implant. Thank you for your assistance.
John G., Florida, USA, January 12, 2007

• The allergic reaction you describe might be related to Plavix (clopidogrel) which sometimes doesn't show up immediately. But don't stop taking any medications, especially Plavix, without getting a substitute. These types of reactions are difficult to diagnose. Our quick recommendation in your case is to discuss the possibility of a Plavix allergy with your interventional cardiologist, really the best person to make any adjustments in your treatment. If he/she thinks you may be having an allergic reaction to Plavix, it may be possible to switch to an earlier (although related) drug called Ticlid (ticlopidine).
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 12, 2007

• Had medicated stent put in Nov. 22, 2006. Just recently have started to develop skin redness and extensive itching over various parts of my body. I have had periodic pain associated with chest and upper right arm. Since stent procedure I have also had an increase in dripping from the nose. Just had a nuclear stress test which indicated that all seemed fine. What is this study all about? Do you think I am reacting to the stent or the Plavix which I am taking along with 81mg of aspirin. I was also taking Provastatin which the cardiologist changed thinking this might have been the cause since most of the symptoms started to show up more at night. I have stopped this, and the symptoms seem to be getting worse. Any advice you can give me would be helpful. Thanks.
Jack, Indiana, USA, January 12, 2007

• JoAnn Again! In response to forum questions.The heart palpitations started about 9 mos. after the second set of stents were implanted. First it was the extreme flutters then the airway constriction.Like many others I was never told about any dangers or meds. I would have to be on long term.The Dr.said stay on plavix 1 year. I did that and when I completed that year and stopped 4 mos. later I had a clogged artery in one of the stents previously put in my heart.This makes me scared to ever stop the Plavix.
JoAnn, Mississippi, USA, January 9, 2007

• JoAnn -- a few questions. You write that the stents were put in in February and July of 2005, and that these heart palpitations started after the stents. How long after? Immediately after? Weeks? Months? And have you constantly had this problem since then (that's a year-and-a-half to two years)? Has your cardiologist(s) offered any explanation for these symptoms? Finally do you have any allergies to metal or medications that you know of?
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 9, 2007

• Hi! In Feb.05 I had 4 Cordis Cypher stents implanted. In July 05 2 more Cordis. I stayed on plavix for 1 year. After the stents I began having severe heart palpitations so bad it would close my airway.Went to heart doctor. They put me on a holter monitor; it recorded irregular heartbeats. I was put on varpimil. I was also taking tarka, lipitor, diazide and 325mg. aspirin. The palpitations kept getting worse. I had to go by ambulance to the hospital. I was being suffocated and had severe chest pain there. They found one of the stents I already had was clogged and had to have another put in; so I did. I was released the following day got home and 3 hours later my heart was again palpitating so severe it closed my airway and my husband is racing me back to the hospital. The ER doctor gave me something for heartburn even though I told him it was not heartburn. I told him it was my heart fluttering uncontrollably and I couldn't breathe and it was like contractions it would go away and come back! They gave me a nitro pill. I go home, two days later my daughter is rushing me to the nearest facility which is a doctor's office close to my home with the same problem. Dr. Moore put me on oxygen. She took me in immediately -- you could hear me struggling for breath. I know it scared her me coming in off the street like that and I've never met her before, but it was an emergency.The palpitations are still coming the airway closing isn't as bad in the last two weeks but the sharp pains in my heart are still there. I was on the floor of my home tonight it felt as though someone was stabbing me in the heart it lasted 5-7 min. I couldn't get to my nitro pills.Then it slowly went away.Is this a side effect? allergy? Please help -- I'm scared this is going to kill me. Thank You For Your Help!
JoAnn, Mississippi, USA, January 9, 2007

• Alice -- check out the sidebar about the research study being done. There currently IS no test to determine allergy to drug-eluting stent. This study will do just that. But has it been determined that this is not a Plavix allergy? It sound a bit like what we've seen reported: skin rashes, etc. If it is the stent, it is more likely that it is a reaction to the polymer (plastic) in which the drug is embedded rather than to the drug itself (which is very low dose).
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 8, 2007

• My mother had a cypher stent inserted 9/2006 she has had a sore mouth four times since with the pain being very bad. She also sometimes has a rash over her cheeks and now gets small bumps on her face she says she has heartburn and upset stomach quite often her cardiologist told her that she has an allergy to the med on the stent no one told her of the risk she had the non drug stent five years ago with no problems. She is also on plavix which she didn't need with the other stent. Her cardiologist told her to call the hospital so they can call the maker of the stent. what is this going to accomplish.
Alice Hall, Plant City, Florida, USA, January 8, 2007

• Although I am very weak and tired I continue to research the issue of nickel toxicity and the resulting hypersensitivity to drugs and other life changing events. I am not going to give up until I get answers that make sense. Therefore I have started posting articles to a blog that I believe help explain what happened to me and others. We must not give up the fight as others will be hurt by these products if we do nothing. I am sorry for all of us. Here s the blog My email address is on the website and if you have articles you would like to post please send them to me and I'll be happy to publish them. Again thank you all for being here and telling your story. My email is
Sharon H., Colorado, USA, January 6, 2007

• Thanks to all who have written in -- and in case anyone reading this thinks that patients aren't aware of what is happening to them, just look at the last few VERY lengthy and detailed accounts. We also call your attention to the study highlighted in the right sidebar and urge anyone interested to email us for contact information. (All emails are kept private and NOT shared.)
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 5, 2007

• I am a 54 year old male who had a 2 stent procedure on Nov 17 2006. One, a Taxus Express2 at LAD and one a Micro driver MX2. Since these were done under an emergency situation there was absolutely no discussion with me as to what my desire or even concerns were. After the procedure I was told 2 stents were placed, I did not even know what THAT meant. The following day a Social worker approached me and gave me TONS of literature on the TAXUS Express, I was quite perturbed that one of the listed side effects was DEATH . It also EMPHATICALLY said that not more than one medicated stent should ever be placed in a patient so, I am quite surprised reading here of people with 2 or more. My problems began immediately after the angioplasty. My lips felt swollen and itchy and so did my tongue. I had excruciating pains all over my spine which the docs attributed to the length of time I spent laying on that damn forsaken table. My neck and shoulder were also in horrible pain, but NO pain killers were prescribed. Grin and bear it -- it could have been worse. In the hospital I started taking Aspirin, Plavix, Lipitor, ave & TOPROL XL.

All things considered, besides the extreme pain in my back and the overall joint and muscle pain, I felt very optimistic. I had a young and sympathetic cardiologist and the final prognosis was that it has been a very minor incident so I could regain full functionality of my life just with exercise and diet and of course STICKING to the ever MIGHT PLAVIX. A night nurse told me if you do not have money to buy the Plavix STEAL it because you will be back here in 5 months if you stop it , it is a LIFE TIME commitment!. She also was VERY candid and explicitly informed that this could have been discussed with me just by popping a tab of nitroglycerin that would have let me take my own decision and considered the risks. This MUST be taken upon by the FDA to allow the patient if there is ANY possibility participate in what will be come the rest of a very different life. If patient participation was NOT diligently sought , the doctors should be considered FULLY responsible for the treatment they decide to perform.

My throat began blocking and I was choking in the middle of the night so I was taken off ALTCE because it is the only drug that admits swelling in the lips tongue and throat , Diovan replaced that. After 4 days of surgery I started noticing EXTREME sensitivity in my gums (no bleeding) but they would hurt when chewing some a but tough. One molar crown developed a terrible infection and turned the whole side of the gum jet black. Running to the dentist they figured that my gums have some how began being a lot more sensitive and than my immune system around my teeth was not doing its job. After antibiotics, and pain killers that went away but the area of the jaw has remained very dark and sensitive and does not look healthy at all At this point the itchiness in my tongue mouth and lips was getting to be a nightmare. and these were immediately triggering panic attacks which required XANAX to bring me to the point where I wouldn't t jump out of a window. The XANAX I had to get on the internet because my PD REFUSED to prescribe it saying it would be just another drug to deal with . Of course I am looking for a new primary physician.

Since my doctors were REALLY not caring about this I started experimenting and decide to drop LIPITOR two nights in a row to see if I would achieve a a change. No luck , Then the Plavix one night NO luck In fact dropping the Plavix made things worse . Since I can NOT go directly to the stent and stop it from doing its jobs and I came to something that was quite interesting, a reference to CANDIDA ALBICANS . One of those nasty bacteria we all have in our bodies and when there a change in the body s good flora they break havoc with your life. I could have kicked my self because I had suffered from this after a especially long antibiotic treatment about 12 years ago, but the symptoms were the same. Crusty tongue cover with a slimy whitish coat. Blisters on the side and under the mouth , roof of the mouse peeling and lips swollen and itchy. Random aches and pains , brain fog bone aches etc. I more severe cases you may have angula chelatis and even the infection may travel to your esophagus. When does Cadiadisis kick in ESPECIALLY in an environment like a hospital were you are being tested with this and that drug , pumped with antibiotics and your oral hygiene may not be the best ever. Your body is in a state of shock and are not combating the Candida overgrowth a VOILA full blown case of Cadiadasis. So I am looking at this itchiness (now spreading to my eyes) as a Candida overgrowth (since all I get from the doctors is damn if I know ) For any of you that DO have this mouth itchiness do this simple test, take the back of a toothbrush and scrape off all the whitish glue on your tongue SPIT IT OUT, now buy the MOST expensive PROBIOTIC you can get , cut a cap in your mouse and let it sit there swooshing it around for 5 minutes , now get a glass of water and swallow. Within seconds the itchiness if not gone 100% it will not me making climb the walls. If a medicated stent reaction is causing an overgrowth of Candida alvicans this can be control pretty easily by adding and anti-fungal like nystatin, clotrimazole, and miconazole to your drug cocktail. It took me 6 months to get rid of my last Cadidaisis and trust me I was NOT expecting this devilish fungus to make its presence again. But I think here it is and because ALL of the CANDIDA symptoms mimic some of the side effects of the other medications (like muscle pain and weakness in LIPITOR) I think MDs are going about this all wrong. I would like to hear your opinions and courage you to investigate CANDIDA and candidiasis on google, then match its symptoms with YOUR systems after the angioplasty and be ready to be VERY surprised.
H. Forcelledo, Howard Beach, New York, USA, January 4, 2007

• My husband (age 47) suffered a heart attack in July of 2005. He was rushed to the cath lab and after an angiogram they inserted a Cypher stent. They told us he had 2 more blockages, one 90% the other 30%. Two days later they were going to attempt to open up the 90% blockage. Prior to doing that, they decided to check on the first stent. We were told that it had “occluded.” The surgeon inserted a second Cypher stent at that time. We were told the artery initially opened up but then occluded again. He continued to insert 3 more Cypher stents in the same artery, “piggy-back.” The artery was open and blood was flowing when they finished. They decided not to attempt to open the other artery at that time. My husband was put on Plavix, aspirin (325 mg), Lipitor, Lisonopril, and Toprol.

Prior to this event, my husband was hardly ever ill. His cholesterol was 180 at the time of the heart attack, he was not overweight and was very active (hockey and soccer player, avid hunter and fisherman). He wasn’t on any meds prior to this event (not even bp meds). We were told that he must have suffered from arteriosclerosis for a long time, as he had an extensive network of collateral arteries that had built up over time to compensate for the reduced blood flow. The plan was to attempt to open up the other blocked artery after 6-8 weeks of being on the meds. Two weeks after the heart attack and stent insertion, my husband suffered an allergic reaction. He broke out with huge welts (behind his ears, groin area). At first they told him to take Benadryl but then his lips started swelling. At that point, we rushed him to the ER and they immediately started him on prednisone. The doctors told us that they felt he had an allergic reaction to the Lisonopril and so they discontinued that med. Although the swelling in his lips went down, he did progress to severe hives on his hands (which swelled and were very itchy). His primary care physician needed to prescribe more prednisone and he was even given an Epi pen, just in case the reaction suddenly got worse. Eventually the allergic reaction subsided.

At the end of August, he went back into the hospital to open up the other blocked artery. He was not taken off any of his other meds. At that time they discovered that the stents had occluded or blocked once again. Meanwhile, his 90% blockage had gotten worse (at times it was full blocked) and the 30% was now 70-80% blocked (despite the diet changes and all of the meds). They had to do an emergency quad bypass the following day (Friday of Labor Day weekend). He is no longer on any blood thinners (other than baby aspirin). He has to continue to take Toprol XL (150 mg) and he must keep his LDL low (now under 50).

After reading about other possibly stent allergies, I began to research the Cypher stent. The polymers that it is coated with are acrylates. I’m a formulation chemist and I’ve worked with these materials. I know that people can be very sensitive to them. Although the doctors feel that he was allergic to the ace inhibitor, that allergy was never confirmed. He was also never tested for allergies to metals, the drug coating the stent or the polymer itself. Looking at how the allergy took time to surface (2 weeks) and also took a while to dissipate, I believe he was allergic to that stent (drug or polymer). Was his system overloaded with the material (since he had 5 stents inserted)? Did an allergic reaction contribute to the occlusion of the stents and/or worsen his condition (contribute to the advancement of the arteriosclerosis)? He is no longer on Plavix – does his CABG protect him from issues that might surface because he’s no longer on the Plavix? He was a very active person prior to his first heart attack. Although he tries to remain active, he does not have the stamina that he had once before. (Is it the illness or the meds that he is on?) We’d love to get some answers to our questions and we want to be prepared if he should become ill once again. He does not want to go through another bypass. Until he is tested for an allergy to the Cypher stent, I would not want to see doctors attempt to open up a graft using a DES. We’d also like others to be more informed of the issues involving stents. They may be fine for some individuals but for others, who have a history of allergies, testing should be done before they are inserted. Patients need to make informed decisions concerning their health care. We have 3 sons who may have inherited this same genetic weakness. We’d like to be more informed for their sakes as well. For these reasons, my husband would gladly participate in any research study involving possible allergic reactions to stents. Thank you.
Maria S., Massachusetts, USA, January 4, 2007

• Response to S in Mass. People think of the visit to the Dr. as some sort of courtroom battle to be played out. Given your account, there is nothing to do now but try things to make husband comfortable. Arguing with MD accomplishes nothing, and nothing he can now do. Why increase the stress. Rather go to the, click "library", click "phosphytidylcholine as a Membrane Therapeutic, then click PDF and read the entire Chapter 4, so you are confident what it is; great studies and many of them. Then find an MD (probably an alternative MD) in your area that does Phosphytidylcholine IV therapy, and then e-mail me and let me know if it helps. In fact if anyone does IV PC and has a result, let me know. May help some. Nothing else I tried really helps. The oral Phoschol product is nice too, but really didn't help me at all; we stent folks need IV application and fast... Best to you...
Steve G, Florida, USA, January 4, 2007

• I'm a 48 year old male with four stents, two drug-eluting in the last year, i had my first two non-drug-eluting stent ten years ago. i did have some discomforting feelings in my chest but they were not serious. BUT these two new stents, one that is inside the old type stent hurts every day! i also feel weak, tired, have trouble sleeping on my left side because of chest pains, unproductive cough, joint pain,sharp pain in chest (heart area) while bending over. the list goes on an on. can anyone give me some help with this??
R.M., Maine, USA, January 3, 2007

• Steve G: With the latest release of news concerning the adverse effect of DES on angiogenesis, I am now convinced more than ever that it was the insertion of 5 cypher stents that led to my husband's rapid deterioration, necessitating a quad bypass within 2 months. He was told after his initial heart attack that he had extensive collateral growth and that is probably what saved his life. He did suffer some heart damage but they felt that there would be no lasting effect. Again, his collateral system was considered amazing. (Years of hockey, soccer, etc.) It's been over a year since his bypass and his health has plateaued. (He is just 48 yrs old, not overweight, never smoked and had not serious health issues prior to this.) Although he is back to work and continues to try to stay active, he still tires fairly easily. We are continually told it is most likely the Toprol. I'm convinced it's the negative effect of the Cypher stent (allergic reaction and/or negative impact on his collateral growth.) We go to his cardiologist next week. What questions should we be asking at this appointment? What tests can we ask for in order to determine if the stents (which are still inserted) are continuing to cause damage? They told him his hives/allergic reaction 2 weeks after the stents were inserted was do to the ace inhibitor he was on. Would it be out of place to ask to have him tested for allergies to that drug, the Sirolimus, and/or the polymer coating on the Cypher stent? His appointment is on the 8th.
S., Massachusetts, USA, January 3, 2007

• I am 64 years old (female). On October 5, 2006 I had a Cypher Drug Eluting Stent placed in my right coronary artery. I was doing fine until October 24th. I awoke that morning with severe joint and radiating pain in my right hand which went to my wrist, elbow, shoulder (felt like a torn rotator cuff) and my fingers became numb. The next day the pain was bearable but by the afternoon of October 25th the severe joint and radiating pain had moved to my left hand. On October 30 I was put on a Medrol pack because my hands were so swollen. The pain continued in my hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, ankles and toes. It would move from place to place. I ran an elevation of temperature for two and a half weeks, had hives on the bottom of my feet and I itch like crazy but do not have any red rash. By December 7th I was totally exhausted and my Rheumatologist placed me on Prednisone until we can find some answers. I have an elevated Sedimentation Rate but they have been unable to come up with what is causing this. Because of the intensity of the onset of joint pain both my Internist and my Rheumatologist asked me had there been any new changes in my life or new medications The only thing new was the Cypher Eluting Stent and Plavix. Do you think my joint pain, elevation of temperature, hives and itching are a hypersensitive reaction to the parylene C and the Sirolimus Drug? In December of 1995 I had a BMS placed in my right coronary artery and I had no problems. I had a wonderful recovery.
Suzanne G., Clarksville, Maryland, USA, January 1, 2007

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