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Fundamental principle  of  human biological system is to live in harmony with nature and environment.Each cell  has a unique reaction  when it comes into contact with  external  material. This reaction can be acute or chronic  ,   local or systemic. The most severe form of allergy is called anaphylaxis  that can result in instantaneous loss of life. There  is a whole gamut of disorders  that  resulted  in a  separate  speciality called allergic medicine .

Further ,the transplantation  science have   taught us  an  organ or cell can be rejected at any point of time after implantation (Hyperacute -chronic) .With advancement of science we have started implanting a variety of devices  with complex metallurgy ,inside human body, metal clips, prosthesis, valves, wires, etc .How the body handles them .The consequences can be a mild reaction to major ones occasionally.

Consider ,a local allergy due to a orthopedic prosthesis  in one of the leg bones  is far less serious than a metal within a coronary artery  irritating the intima .

Remember hypersensitivity reactions can be severe . This lady reacted  like this to a sandal slipper -A  fiery red  infiltration

contact dermatits stent allergy pci coronary

Imagine  if a stented coronary artery react like this what would be the possible consequence ?

In susceptible  individuals  , can a metal cause

  • Intimal hyperemia
  • Intimal induration
  • Intimo-medial edema  following stent deployment

pci stent coronary angiogram thrombosis des

Why drug eluting stents are more prone for hypersensitivity ?

The answer is simple , while metal allergy is a comparatively rare phenomenon, the drugs we  coat and the polymers used are  many fold likely to result in hypersensitivity reaction.

While  the world is worried  more  about penicillin , sulpha allergy which occurs in 1 in 100000 ,  we tend to ignore the metal and drug  reactions within  the tender coronary arteries.

stent des rejection virmani  pci

What is  the clinical expression of  stent hypersensitivity ?

It is  often a coronary event in the acute phase and restenosis in chronic phase.

How much of acute stent thrombosis is related to stent allergy mediated reaction ?

The exact incidence  will  never be known. It could be high. Whenever a sudden unexpected early stent occlusion can be a suspect .

Is stent allergy a local reaction or systemic reaction ?

It is most often local .The drugs the stent elute can elicit a systemic reaction occasionally.

So what can be done to prevent this complication ?

Drug companies in it’s  package regularly  include the warning  message ! What does it imply to have a caution  on the covers ? .This warning simply represent about our ignorance in this issue. We presume it is a minor problem.

pci stent thrombosis stent allergy metal

Questions unanswered

  1. How does a cardiac patient knows whether he is hypersensitive to stainless steel or nickel ?
  2. Is it practical to have a stent allergic test in every patient before PCI ?
  3. Is routine administration of corticosteroids for few days after PCI an answer ?

Reference

R.Virmani , circulation 2004

http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/full/109/6/701?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=stent+%27allergy%22+&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT

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