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High frequency of contact allergy to gold in patients with endovascular coronary stents

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Summary Background 

Stent implantation is an effective method for treatment of atherosclerotic disease. Factors predisposing to in-stent restenosis are still largely unknown. Contact allergy to metal ions eluted from the stent has been suggested to be a risk factor. Objectives 

To explore whether there is a possible induction of contact allergy to metals used in stents among patients with a stainless steel stent containing nickel (Ni stent) and patients with a gold-plated stent (Au stent). Methods 

Adults (n =484) treated with coronary stent implantation participated in the study with patch testing. The study design was retrospective and cross-sectional with no assessment of contact allergy before stenting. Age- and sex-matched patch-tested patients with dermatitis (n =447) served as controls. Results 

Of Au-stented patients, 54 of 146 (37%) were allergic to gold compared with 85 of 447 (19%) controls (P <0·001). Within the stented population there were no statistically significant differences in contact allergy to gold or nickel between Ni-stented and Au-stented patients. In multivariate models where other risk factors for contact allergy to gold were considered, the Au stent showed a trend towards statistical significance (odds ratio 1·43, 95% confidence interval 0·95–2·16; P =0·09). Conclusions 

As the frequency of contact allergy to gold is higher in stented patients independent of stent type it suggests a previous sensitization. However, several pieces of circumstantial evidence as well as statistical analysis indicate the possibility of sensitization in the coronary vessel by the Au stent. Ni stents and Au stents should not be ruled out as risk factors for induction of contact allergy to these metals.
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Keywords: contact allergy; gold; nickel; stent

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Thoracic Intervention, Blekinge Hospital, Karlskrona, Sweden 2: Competence Centre for Clinical Research, Lund University Hospital, Lund, Sweden 3: Dermatology 4: Cardiology, Malmö University Hospital, Lund University, 205 02 Malmö, Sweden

Publication date: 2007-10-01

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