The First Big Stent Technology For The Heart In Several Years

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Jill Chadwick

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Cardiologists at The University of Kansas Hospital have embarked on a clinical trial to see if a coronary stent that slowly dissolves into a vessel can effectively protect the heart and enhance the free flow of blood.

Conventional stents are tiny, metallic, mesh-like scaffolds that prop open vessels gummed up by plaque, dead cells and clotted blood that can lead to a heart attack or a stroke. More than half a million Americans receive one every year. The new device under study is made of a disappearing, biodegradable polymer that leaves behind no traces of its existence other than an opened and possibly more pliable vessel.