(NAPSI)-Heart disease: It's no longer just a man's problem. According to figures from the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, 2003, an estimated six million American women now have coronary artery disease-the life-threatening condition that blocks the vessels supplying oxygen and vital nutrients to the heart.
Fortunately, more and more tales of heart disease may soon have happy endings. Just ask 75-year-old Helen Rehak-who's just one of a few heart patients who is now benefitting from a medical discovery called a drug-eluting stent.
For Rehak, the battle began nearly 25 years ago when she developed chest pain while playing tennis. Over the next two decades, her life became an endless series of heart treatments, including three open-heart operations and numerous other procedures. Time after time, her vessels would reblock, and Rehak would be back in the hospital undergoing another treatment.
Finally, in 2001, her doctor had her admitted to the drug-eluting stent compassionate use program. At that time, the new development, known as the Cypher™ Sirolimus-eluting Coronary Stent, was still being studied. The early results with this new device were so remarkable the U.S. Food & Drug Administration authorized its early use in patients like Rehak who had exhausted every available option for keeping their heart vessels open.
The Cypher Stent is a tiny stainless steel scaffolding structure coated in the drug sirolimus. The stent braces the artery open and gradually releases sirolimus into the vessel lining to help prevent tissue regrowth, the leading cause of reblockage in diseased coronary arteries.
Today, more than a year since Rehak received the new stent, she is enjoying life with her husband. "I recently had a clinical follow-up and was so pleased to learn that my arteries are as the doctor left them that day. It's wonderful to be pain-free."
The Cypher Stent was approved for use in the United States in April 2003. Today, more than 250,000 heart patients around the world have been treated with this new device.
For more information, visit www.cypherusa.com.
For Helen Rehak, as with millions of women, a new kind of coronary artery stent has solved decades of health problems.