Polymer-free drug-coated coronary stents in diabetic patients at high bleeding risk: a pre-specified sub-study of the LEADERS FREE trial


OBJECTIVE: Diabetics are at increased risk after stent implantation and potentially sensitive to the type of stent and dual anti-platelet therapy (DAPT). The randomized, double-blind LEADERS FREE trial compared 2432 patients at high bleeding risk (HBR) receiving either a polymer-free BA9-coated stent (DCS) or a bare metal stent (BMS) with 1 month of DAPT, and showed superior safety and efficacy of the DCS at 2 years. We report outcomes at 2 years of the pre-specified diabetic subgroup.

METHODS AND RESULTS: The diabetic sub-group comprised 805 (33.1%) patients; 262 (10.8%) were insulin-dependent (IDDM). Compared to non-diabetics, diabetics were younger and had more risk factors and multi-vessel disease. They suffered higher rates of death (15.6 vs. 12.2%, p = 0.01), cardiac death (8.3 vs. 5.9%, p = 0.02), myocardial infarction (MI) (11.1 vs. 7.8%, p = 0.009) and definite/probable stent thrombosis (3.1 vs. 1.7%, p = 0.01), but rates of clinically-indicated TLR (9.1 vs. 9.5%, p = 0.93) and BARC 3–5 bleeding (10.2 vs. 8.4%, p = 0.20) were comparable. Compared to diabetic patients treated with a BMS, diabetic DCS recipients required less clinically driven TLR (6.3 vs. 12.2%, p = 0.006). The primary safety endpoint (cardiac death, MI, definite/probable stent thrombosis) occurred numerically less frequently in the DCS group (14.9 vs. 19.7%, p = 0.10), and was significantly lower in IDDM patients (13.8 vs. 25.4%, p = 0.03). BARC 3–5 was similar for patients treated with DCS (9.9%) and BMS (10.5%, p = 0.84).

CONCLUSIONS: In diabetic HBR patients, DCS significantly reduced re-intervention rates over BMS, and showed a strong trend towards a safety benefit at 2 years.

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Clin Res Cardiol 2019;108;1: 31-38.