Drug-eluting stents (DES) significantly reduce the risk of restenosis after percutaneous coronary revascularisation, but an increased risk of late stent thrombosis (LST) has been put forward as a major safety concern. Meta-analysis of clinical trials, however, does not support this caveat. Even so, many interventional cardiologists think that LST is associated with DES and related to delayed endothelialisation. This hypothesis is based on autopsy studies and clinical intracoronary angioscopy. In autopsy studies, differences between endothelialisation of DES and baremetal stents (BMS) have been reported. Most preclinical studies, however, have failed to show any significant differences in endothelialisation between DES and BMS. Our own studies, using the porcine coronary artery model, also suggest that DES show no differences in re-endothelialisation. However, DES do delay vascular healing and induce endothelial dysfunction. This paper will review clinical and animal studies which consider re-endothelialisation and LST. (Neth Heart J 2009;17:177-81.19421365
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