New Technology: Absorbable Heart Stent
There's a game-changing breakthrough in cardiovascular care that may help you lead a better and healthier life. Opening up clogged arteries used to mean that a cardiologist had to implant metal stents that became a permanent part of your body and be at risk of blockage inside the stent (restenosis) or part of the metal fracturing.
But not anymore.
You may be a candidate for the new absorbable heart stent to treat coronary artery disease which affects 15 million people in the United States. This technology was approved in July 2016 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
It's one more way that the Abrazo Community Health Network’s Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital, Abrazo Arrowhead Campus and Abrazo West Campus are looking out for you.
How the Stent Works
The new stent is similar to dissolving sutures and is expected to absorb entirely in about three years, letting the restored artery pulse and flex naturally - something it just couldn't do with the metal stents.
The procedure takes only about an hour in the hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab. There's no big incision; a small tube is inserted into an opening in your wrist or groin. The cardiologist then threads the stent through the thin flexible tube to the area of blockage. The stent, made of a biodegradable polymer, is then expanded to prop up your affected artery, pushing the plaque back in the artery wall to restore blood flow.
During the next few months, the stent will slowly release a drug to limit the growth of scar tissue and reduce inflammation. Like a metal stent, it props open your diseased vessel, restoring blood flow, then is completely and naturally absorbed by the body. After your artery is healed it leaves almost no material behind and restores natural vessel motion. Only two pairs of tiny markers remain to help cardiologists know where the stent was placed.