Vanishing Stent Successful in Trial

Drug eluting bioresorbable vascular scaffold implanted in heart patient

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Treating clogged arteries often requires a procedure to open the blockage following by placement of a permanent stent to prop it open. New technology has prompted development of a stent capable of slowly disappearing.

The implantation of the first drug eluting bio-resorbable vascular scaffold in North America means that patients may no longer be saddled with a permanent metal stent, and that the treatment will better allow their blood vessels to return to a normal state.

"Follow a healthy diet to protect your blood vessels."

Dr. Jean-François Tanguay, an interventional cardiologist and coordinator of the coronary unit at Montreal Heart Institute, who implanted the device in a patient as part of the ABSORB EXTEND clinical trial, said the new option could revolutionize treatment for coronary artery disease.

He said the dissolving stent could lead to improved clinical outcomes for patients by opening the blocked artery without leaving behind a permanent implant.

The first North American patient to receive the stent was a woman in her 60s with a severe lesion to the heart's main artery. She had suffered chest pain for months, but responded favorably to the procedure. She was discharged 24 hours after implantation and has resumed her normal activities without chest pain one month later.

The investigational ABSORB bio-resorbable vascular scaffold was developed by healthcare company Abbott to support the vessel while it heals following angioplasty. It was designed to slowly metabolize until the device has completely dissolved after about two years.

After the device has vanished, patients blood vessels function similar to those that have not been treated.

The stent is made from polylactide, a bio-degradeable material used in other medical devices such as dissolving sutures.

The trial, supported by Abbott, is being conducted at four centers in Canada including the Montreal Heart Institute, Institut Universitaire de Cardiologie et de Pneumologie de Québec, University of Ottawa Heart Institute and St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. About 1,000 patients will be enrolled in the trial from up to 100 medical centers worldwide.

The device already is on the market in Europe. It is available as an investigational treatment worldwide, and about 500 patients have received the stent so far.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 6, 2011
Last Updated:
December 6, 2011