Absorbable Stent for Heart Disease Approved
In what developers of the device are calling, “a significant advance in treatment of coronary artery disease,” the FDA has approved the first absorbable stent to treat blockages in coronary arteries. About 850,000 people have angioplasty and stent implantation each year in the U.S. This new device works like a traditional metal stent, but is designed to dissolve within 1 to 3 years after being implanted in the artery.
According to Gregg Stone, director of cardiovascular research and education at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and a leader of Abbott-sponsored studies that led to approval of the device, the stent “allows the artery to reacquire its normal shape. It allows the vessel to grow.” Researchers are hoping that this feature proves to be a long-term advantage of using the absorbable stent.
In clinical trials, patients with stable or unstable angina (chest pain) treated with the absorbable stent experienced “clinically comparable” rates of serious cardiac events and about twice the rate of blood clots as patients treated with traditional stents. Blood clot risk is a strong concern and may be related to the size of the absorbable stent, which is larger and may be problematic when used in narrower blood vessels.
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