Every year, more than half a million Americans undergo stent procedures to widen coronary arteries. Doctors across the U.S. are now performing stent procedures using a device that is designed to “disappear” over time.
Stents are traditionally metal mesh, but this device, dubbed “Absorb,” is made from the same biodegradable material used in dissolvable sutures. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved this new type of stent, and it is being made available first to medical centers that participated in the clinical studies.
The regulators based their decision on clinical studies around the world, including one trial of 2,000 U.S. patients who received the dissolving stent and experienced comparable rates of specific adverse cardiac events — including heart disease-related death, heart attacks attributed to the stented artery, and repeat procedures — compared to patients with metallic stents.
The stent is designed to remain in the artery for three years, after which it dissolves, leaving a healed artery that can pulse normally, instead of one with a permanent stent.
The Absorb stent is now available in more 100 countries, including the United States, and has been used to treat more than 150,000 people with coronary artery disease worldwide.
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