Baptist is First in the Area to Use New FDA Approved Dissolving Drug-Eluting Stents to Treat Blocked Coronary Arteries

Friday, December 30, 2016

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For many years, Dot Smith of Yazoo City, Miss. had battled indigestion, but this past fall, her heartburn, acidosis feeling at the top of Smith’s chest was different.

“There was just this tight feeling and much discomfort in my chest. This was different than my typical indigestion,” Smith added. “It was really bad. I had shortness of breath and no energy at all. I would go get the mail and be completely exhausted.”

With these peculiar issues, Smith made an appointment to see Baptist Medical Clinic Primary Care Physician David Gilder, MD. He performed his exams on her and discovered a possible heart attack. Dr. Gilder sent her to Baptist Heart where Cardiologist Todd Lawson and Interventional Cardiologist Shawn Sanders, MD took over her care and discovered 90 percent heart blockage in the arteries. 

To Smith’s advantage, she was a candidate for the Absorb™ dissolving heart stent. On November  7, 2016, Smith was the first patient in central Mississippi to receive this type of stent, which was performed by Dr. Sanders. It’s the first and only drug eluting coronary stent of its kind that dissolves, completely and naturally, in the body over time. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Abbott’s Absorb bioresorbable heart stent on July 6, 2016.

“The development of stents was a significant milestone in the treatment of coronary artery disease. However, the chance of restenosis continued to be a concern,” said Baptist Heart Cardiologist Shawn Sanders, MD. “Absorb treats coronary disease similarly to a traditional metallic stent at first by opening the diseased vessel to restore blood flow. But, over the course of three years, Absorb scaffold completely dissolves as the artery heals. This allows the vessel to regain its natural function without a permanent metal scaffold left behind.”

While stents are traditionally made of metal, Abbott’s Absorb stent is made of a naturally dissolvable material called polylactide, similar to dissolving stitches. Absorb disappears completely in approximately 3 years, once it has done its job of keeping a clogged artery open and promoting healing of the artery. By contrast, metal stents are permanent implants.

The stent is placed into the artery on a balloon at the end of a thin flexible tube, much like the procedure used to place bare metal and drug-eluting coronary stents. It is then expanded by inflating the balloon that pushes the plaque against the artery wall to enable greater blood flow. The balloon is removed, leaving the Absorb stent to slowly release medication to the diseased area. With blood flow restored, the stent begins dissolving.

After Absorb dissolves, it allows the artery to pulse and flex naturally. It may also reduce the risk of future blockages that occur with metallic stents, and makes it easier for doctors to offer additional interventions in the future if necessary. During the dissolving period, Absorb metabolizes into water and carbon dioxide, two elements that occur naturally in the body. All that remain in the artery are two pairs of tiny metallic markers that enable a physician to see where the device was placed. After three years, the device is completely dissolved and the vessel can remain open and pulsate on its own.

Absorb represents a major advance in the interventional treatment of coronary artery disease—the next significant innovation in a chain of revolutionary treatments for heart disease starting with balloon angioplasty in the 1970s, bare-metal stents in the 1980s, and drug eluting stents in the 2000s.

Dr. Sanders added, “It’s exciting to be able to offer our patients here at Baptist Heart this new technology.”

During Smith’s follow up appointment at Baptist Heart on December 15, 2016, she said, “I feel so much better and the recovery time was so short. It has helped me so much. I don’t stay out of breath. It’s just really remarkable of what I went through and what they (doctors) have done to help me.”

Patients meeting certain criteria are eligible for this particular kind of stent, and this option would be discussed with a cardiologist.

For more information about Baptist Heart click here.

Click the links below for more information about Absorb:





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