A major advance in the treatment of coronary artery disease, a fully dissolving stent, is available at HonorHealth Scottsdale Shea Medical Center and HonorHealth John C. Lincoln Medical Center after years of clinical research and trials.
The new stent opens a coronary artery and disappears within two to three years. Much like a cast on a broken bone is unnecessary after the bone heals, a coronary stent is unnecessary long term in an artery.
The Abbott Absorb stent is a big advance. The stent is made from polymers, and its crystalline form offers metal-like strength when implanted in a coronary artery. Thanks to the human body's ability to break down the stent's lactic acid polymer into carbon dioxide and water, the device disappears within 24 to 36 months.
The stent procedure takes about an hour in the hospital's cath lab. An interventional cardiologist inserts a catheter into a tiny incision in the wrist or groin. Watching a magnified image of your artery on a screen, the specialist threads the catheter to the obstruction and inflates a balloon to push the plaque to the sides of the artery, opening it. The doctor then threads the stent to the location, implanting it to keep the artery open.
The fully dissolving coronary stent's advantages
- Emitting a drug over the first three months to prevent the coronary artery from closing and scar tissue from forming in the vessel.
- Allowing the artery to act like a normal vessel, expanding with exercise or exertion.
- Reducing the need for blood thinners. Some individuals may even be able to discontinue them.
- Allowing coronary bypass surgery of the artery if it's required in the future. This isn't possible with a metal stent.
- Allowing a CT scan of the heart, something not possible with a metal stent because it distorts the image.
- Preventing chronic inflammation that sometimes accompanies metal stents.
Learn more about the Abbott Absorb stent.
You're not a good candidate for the fully dissolving coronary stent if you have:
- Small arteries — less than 2 ½ millimeters wide — because small vessels have a higher closure rate. Women and Asians tend to have smaller vessels. Your cardiologist would need to evaluate this factor.
- Hard plaque in the artery.
- A heavily calcified artery.
- An artery with a lot of twists and turns.
As with all medical procedures, insurance coverage and costs vary. Contact your insurance company to determine if the procedure is covered and what you might need to pay.
For more information, call 480-882-7450 .