Could Viagra Reduce Blood Clots After Stent Surgery? 2017-07-12
Viagra may prevent deadly blood clots in adults who have stents, a study suggests.
Despite being designed to stop heart attack-causing blockages, the tiny metal rings are sometimes known to have the opposite effect. But lacing each of the devices with sildenafil, the erectile dysfunction medication, slashes any risk of the complication.
It is unknown if this technique will cause the patient any unstimulated erections - the drug's primary purpose. In an early trial on rodents, researchers discovered the drug reduced the clumping of blood platelets by 30 per cent.
Clots are a known side effect of the common procedure, which is undertaken by around 30,000 Britons each year. Stents are given to patients with plaque-clogged arteries in order to cut their risk of having a heart attack. The tiny metal ring, which sits inside the artery and forces it to widen, is thought to stop the likelihood of a blockage. Older models, often consisting of just bare metal, can have the opposite effect by narrowing arteries further, known as restenosis. Nowadays stents are often coated with drugs to stop a potential clot, but the risk is still known in these newer versions.
The latest South Korean study tested coating the stents with Viagra, the generic name of sildenafil. It works in erectile dysfunction patients by expanding their blood vessels and improving blood flow to the genitals.
What does Viagra do?
The researchers found the impotence drug increases the activity of the protein kinase G enzyme, Medical News Today reports. This boost stops artery walls from thickening, suggesting it may help in the form of preventing blood clots after stent surgery.
Having a stent implanted can inhibit the enzyme activity, the researchers said at an American Heart Association conference in Portland. Lead author Dr Han-Mo Yang, of Seoul National University Hospital, said: 'Our study is limited by involving only animals.
'If clinical trials show that sildenafil reduces restenosis after stent placement, it could be used in the clinical setting right away because the drug is already used in the real world for other purposes.'
The latest findings back up a host of evidence which shows that patients taking Viagra are less likely to suffer a heart attack.
Last June, Manchester University experts found men taking the impotence drug had a lower risk of dying than those not on medication.
Karolinska Institutet researchers made similar findings in a study of 43,000 patients earlier this year.
They showed that taking the drug after a heart attack lowers the risk of any form of death by a third.