By Bridget O’Gara.
Making something disappear may seem like magic, but heart specialists at Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) know the dissolving heart stent is all about science.
Introduced by medical device developer Abbott, Absorb is the only fully dissolving – or bioresorbable – stent approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of coronary artery disease. While most heart stents are metal, this first-of-its-kind stent is made of a naturally dissolving material.
“Yavapai Regional Medical Center is proud to be among the first hospitals in Arizona to make this revolutionary device available to our heart patients,” said John Amos, YRMC’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “This is another example of innovation and leadership by the exceptional team at The James Family Heart Center at YRMC.”
Stents – small mesh tubes – are used to open blocked arteries in the heart. These stents help restore blood flow and reduce the chance of a heart attack. YRMC cardiothoracic surgeons and interventional cardiologists place stents into clogged arteries using balloon catheters. The heart specialist inflates the balloon, which expands the stent. Once it’s locked in place, a stent allows blood to flow through previously clogged arteries.
“People are familiar with dissolving sutures,” said Anthony V. Torres, MD, YRMC’s Chief Medical Officer. “The bioresorbable stent uses the same principle but at a more sophisticated level. The bioresorbable stent is a temporary scaffold that opens clogged arteries in the heart and resorbs over time.”
Previously, only permanently placed metal stents were available. The bioresorbable stent is made to disappear completely in approximately three years, after it has done its job of keeping a clogged artery open and promoting healing of the treated artery segment.
Heart specialists will continue using permanent metal stents to open obstructed arteries. However, for people with certain kinds of heart disease, and whose bodies metabolize cholesterol differently, the bioresorbable stent provides another option. This is welcome news for many Arizonans as the American Heart Association ranks heart disease as the second leading cause of death in the state.
Want to find out if you’re eligible for the bioresorbable stent? Ask your primary care physician or cardiologist. If don’t have a physician, contact YRMC Physician Referral Service at (928) 771-5106, visit us online or contact the outstanding cardiologists at YRMC PhysicianCare Cardiology in one of our two Prescott locations – (928) 445-6025 or (928) 778-0309 – or our Prescott Valley location at (928) 442-8117.