Physicians at Baptist Health Lexington First in City to Implant Naturally Dissolving Heart Stent

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LEXINGTON Physicians at Baptist Health Lexington were the first in Lexington to implant the recently approved coronary stent that slowly dissolves into a vessel. The new dissolving heart stent, called Absorb bioresorbable vascular scaffold, offers patients with coronary artery disease a new treatment option that opens a blocked vessel, helps to enhance blood flow, and then disappears over time.

Following federal Food and Drug Administration approval of the Absorb device July 5, physicians at Baptist Health Lexington implanted the hospital’s first Absorb stent in a Danville woman August 22. Its sister hospital, Baptist Health Louisville, was the first hospital in Louisville to treat a patient with the new stent July 26. Both hospitals participated in national clinical research trials that helped lead to FDA approval of the new stent. As of September 1, Baptist Health was the only hospital system in Kentucky currently implanting the new stents.

Stents are used to treat coronary artery disease by opening clogged vessels. Made of biodegradable polymer similar to what is used in dissolving stitches, Absorb naturally dissolves in about three years except for two pairs of tiny metallic markers that remain to enable a physician to see where the device was placed. Conventional stents are mesh-like, made of metal, and the entire devices stay in a patient’s body for life.

The new Absorb stent, developed by Abbott Laboratories, promotes more natural healing of the treated area, explained interventional cardiologist Tyler Richmond, MD, with Baptist Health Medical Group Lexington Cardiology.

“After a cardiologist opens a clogged artery with a balloon, there often is trauma to the artery, which requires scaffolding (a stent) to keep the artery open,” Richmond said. “After this trauma, the artery starts to remodel itself The bioresorbable vascular scaffold (Absorb) was designed to provide scaffold support to the coronary artery needed directly after balloon angioplasty, but dissolves over time to allow for this remodeling process and to allow the artery to pulse and flex like it naturally does.”

Coronary artery disease affects 15 million Americans and is a leading cause of death worldwide. About 850,000 patients in the United States are treated with conventional stents each year.

The bioresorbable vascular scaffold (Absorb) was designed to provide scaffold support to the coronary artery needed directly after balloon angioplasty, but dissolves over time.— Dr. Tyler Richmond