Cardiologists at The University of Kansas Hospital have become the first in Kansas and Missouri to implant a heart stent that slowly dissolves into a blood vessel and effectively protects the heart while enhancing the free flow of blood. The new stent recently received Food and Drug Administration approval after a two and a half year clinical trial with the hospital’s cardiologists.
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 is made of a disappearing, biodegradable polymer that leaves behind no trace of its existence other than an opened and possibly more pliable vessel.
“Unlike metallic stents that stay within the vessels permanently, this scaffold completely dissolves within about two years of implantation,” said Mark Wiley, MD, an interventional cardiologist at The University of Kansas Hospital. “This new device’s ability to vanish over time is as close as science comes to magic.”
Being free of a permanent implant allows a vessel the possibility to regain some of its natural flexibility. At the same time, the medication impregnated in the absorbable stent helps prevent re-clogging. Wiley says the new device gives patients an option that frees them from having a lifelong implant. He predicts the stent will transform the way heart attacks and severe coronary blockages will be treated within the next few years.
The video includes sound bites with Dr. Mark Wiley, interventional cardiologist, The University of Kansas Hospital, and Tim Goff, the first patient to receive the newly-approved device. Also before and after images of Goff’s clogged artery followed by animation of the new device being deployed in a clogged artery, and a close up shot of the new device.