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Brain Stents May Increase Stroke Risk

Propping open a narrowed artery in the brain actually may lead to more strokes than giving medicines alone, a study has found. The study included 112 people. All of them had a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA or mini-stroke) within the last 30 days. A mini-stroke causes stroke symptoms that last less than 24 hours. People in the study were randomly divided into 2 groups. Everyone received standard "blood thinner" medicines to prevent clots. One group also received angioplasty. This procedure used a tiny balloon to open a narrowed artery in the brain. Then the artery was propped open with a wire-mesh tube called a stent. In the next month, 24% of those who got stents had a stroke or TIA, compared with 10% of those who got medicines only. Nearly 9% of those who got stents had bleeding in the brain. About 5% died. Nobody in the medicine-only group had bleeding or died.

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