Boston Scientific Corp.‘s stock soared to its highest point in nearly a year on the results of a major study of its cardiac-resynchronization therapy devices, before falling back a little closer to earth.
Shares were trading at $11.55 as of about 9:30 a.m. Sept. 1, the closest its come to the $13.65 high posted Sept. 19, 2008, after a study in the New England Journal of Medicine indicated that the device reduced the risk of heart failure in 41 percent of patients in the trial, significantly improved its pumping efficiency but did not improve the risk of death.
But by about 1:45 p.m., share prices had slipped to $11.33, down more than 3.5 percent for the day.
The MADIT-CRT trial examined 1,820 patients with ischemic or nonischemic cardiomyopathy over four and one-half years, comparing treatment with an implantable cardioverter–defibrillator alone and with a CRT-D device.
Standard ICDs use two electrical leads to regulate the function of the right ventricle. CRT-Ds use a third lead to regulate the left ventricle as well.
After an average of 2.4 years, about 17 percent of the patients implanted with a CRT-D died or suffered a non-fatal cardiac event, compared with about 25 percent of patients in the ICD-only group.
But the overall risk of death was the same for both groups, although it was relatively low for each— about 3 percent annually.
And some cardiologists, gathered in Barcelona, Spain, for the conference where the results were presented, told the Reuters news service that they’re leery of rushing CRD-Ts into widespread use.
“This study may widen the net to capture more patients for [CRT-D devices]. But whether that is appropriate should be questioned. It is likely that our indications for ICD and now maybe for CRT as well are already too broad,” Douglas Zipes, past president of the American College of Cardiology and a professor at the Indiana School of Medicine, told the news service at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology.
Arthur Moss, principal investigator in the study, said he believes more doctors will start using the more expensive technology.
“I think there will be a progressive avalanche [of increased use] because heart failure societies have been very frustrated in the last four or five years at having no new drugs for heart failure,” Moss told the newswire.
The price tag for CRT-D devices tops out at about $35,000, up to $8,000 more than standard ICDs.
Demand for the devices has declined recently after a spate of high-profile problems, including a Class I recall of the Medtronic Kappa and Sigma series pacemakers, three recalls of pacemakers made by BSX’s Guidant subsidiary and the deaths of 13 patients after their Medtronic Sprint Fidelis defibrillator leads fractured.