A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

Heart happy: A new, less invasive stent

Resorbable Stents 5-23 inside

Bioresorbable stents come with fewer side effects than traditional stents.

The bioresorbable heart stent, Abbott’s Absorb™, is the only U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved fully dissolving stent that can be used in the fight against heart disease. Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the world and the leading cause of death in the U.S., killing over 370,000 Americans a year, according to the American Heart Association.

A new frontier in stents

Marshfield Clinic interventional cardiologists recently implanted these naturally dissolving stents in heart care patients in Weston and Eau Claire. The Clinic was the first health care organization in those areas to successfully implement this technology to treat coronary artery disease.

“This is a new frontier for interventional cardiology in helping restore blood flow to normal,” said Dr. Narayana Murali, Marshfield Clinic executive director.

Stents are traditionally made of metal and leave a permanent footprint. Absorb stents are made of a naturally dissolving material, which keeps clogged arteries open and promotes healing with minimal trace left behind.

Blood flow through a coronary artery, the artery that leads to the heart, is reduced when it’s narrowed by cholesterol buildup called plaque. Restricted blood flow can cause pain and lead to a heart attack if blood flow is blocked.

An angioplasty is performed to open the blockage, but sometimes the blood vessel recoils or splits. When that happens, a stent is needed to heal the vessel, keep blood flow open and reduce the chance of a heart attack.

Fewer side effects

Metal stents require patients to be on medication including blood thinners and cause scar tissue. Bioresorbable stents dissolve in two-to three years, and many patients avoid blood thinners altogether long-term. Blood thinners can lead to long-term complications for patients.

“Bioresorbable stents offer patients a chance to heal quickly and resume the activities they enjoy in life, without some of the long-lasting side effects,” said Dr. Milind Shah, a Marshfield Clinic interventional cardiologist. “Patients can recover from heart procedures and know they won’t have a piece of metal inside their body for the rest of their lives.”

3 Comments
  1. May 25, 2017
    • Kirsten Shakal, Shine365 Editor May 25, 2017
      • May 25, 2017

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