The field of interventional cardiology has evolved significantly since the first percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty was performed 40 years ago. This evolution began with a balloon catheter mounted on a fixed wire and has progressed into bare-metal stents (BMS), first-generation drug-eluting stents (DES), second- and third-generation biodegradable polymer-based DES, and culminates with the advent of bioabsorbable stents, which are currently under development. Each step in technological advancement has improved outcomes, while new persisting challenges arise, caused by the stent scaffolds, the polymers employed, and the non-selective cytostatic and cytotoxic drugs eluted from the stents. Despite the promising technological advances made in stent technology, managing the balance between reductions in target lesion revascularization, stent thrombosis, and bleeding remain highly complex issues. This review summarizes the evolution of percutaneous coronary intervention with a focus on vascular dysfunction triggered by the non-selective drugs eluted from various stents. It also provides an overview of the mechanism of action of the drugs currently used in DES. We also discuss the efforts made in developing novel cell-selective drugs capable of inhibiting vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) proliferation, migration, and infiltration of inflammatory cells while allowing for complete reendothelialization. Lastly, in the era of precision medicine, considerations of patients’ genetic variance associated with myocardial infarction and in-stent restenosis are discussed. The combination of personalized medicine and improved stent platform with cell-selective drugs has the potential to solve the remaining challenges and improve the care of coronary artery disease patients.
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