A breakthrough in the treatment of blocked coronary arteries is coming to the heart centers of BayCare Health System. Called Absorb, the stent is approved by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) and fully dissolves approximately three years after it has opened the clogged artery and the treated artery segment has healed.
Made of a biodegradeable polymer, Absorb, manufactured by the global health care company Abbott, is unique in that it is naturally resorbed in the body leaving nothing behind. Unlike the drug-eluting stents that are permanent metallic implants, the implanted small mesh tube disappears.
The procedure is similar to angioplasty or stent placement. Absorb is placed into the artery on a balloon at the end of a thin, flexible tube. Absorb is expanded by inflating the balloon, pushing the plaque against the artery wall to enable greater blood flow. The balloon is removed, leaving Absorb to slowly release medication to the diseased area to keep the vessel from re-narrowing. Once the Absorb scaffold is implanted, it releases a medication intended to prevent restenosis (narrowing of the artery). With blood flow restored, Absorb begins dissolving.
“Absorb is remarkable tool for us as cardiologists in treating coronary artery disease,” said Mahesh Amin, MD, medical director, cardiovascular services, BayCare. “A device that restores blood flow through a patient’s artery without leaving a metallic stent in the body will have long-term benefits for our patients. Not only can the artery return to a more natural movement, but the patient will have more options if future treatment is needed.”
The first site in West Central Florida to use the Absorb stent in a coronary artery since the FDA approval was BayCare’s Morton Plant Hospital. The hospital participated in the ABSORB III clinical trial, enrolling its first patient in 2013. The trial evaluated the potential benefits of Absorb in comparison to a medicated metallic heart stent, also called a drug eluting stent, in patients with coronary artery disease. Absorb is manufactured by the global health care company Abbott.
St. Joseph’s Hospital has begun offering the absorbable stent to patients this month. Other BayCare hospitals with heart centers will start using the stent in the next months. Those hospitals include Mease Countryside, Morton Plant North Bay, St. Joseph’s, St. Joseph’s-North, St. Joseph’s-South and Winter Haven.
Coronary artery disease (CAD), a narrowing of one or more arteries that supply blood to the heart, is a leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Patients with CAD can experience symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath when the demand for blood to the heart is more than the heart’s ability to supply blood due to blockages in the vessels that supply blood to the heart. These blockages are caused by the buildup of fat and cholesterol inside the vessel.
About BayCare Health System
BayCare is a leading not-for-profit health care system that connects individuals and families to a wide range of services at 14 hospitals and hundreds of other convenient locations throughout the Tampa Bay and central Florida regions. Inpatient and outpatient services include acute care, primary care, imaging, laboratory, behavioral health, home care, and wellness. Our mission is to improve the health of all we serve through community-owned, health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care. For more information, visit BayCare on the Web at www.BayCare.org.