Dissolvable cardiac stents are small mesh tubes that may revolutionize the treatment of coronary artery disease. Dr. Ronald Fields, Medical Director of the Heart and Vascular Center at St. Mary Medical Center is one of just a few physicians nationwide using these stents. He says unlike the metal stents, which are permanent implants, these dissolve into the body leaving a healed artery that can flex and pulse naturally, which is thought to have long-term advantages for patients. In addition, with the stent gone, the risk of blood clots is reduced which shortens the amount of time patients must take blood thinners to prevent clots from forming.
Still, the dissolvable stent is not an option for every patient. Even though the new stent is made of a polymer, the traditional metal stent is more pliable and thus can work its way through tight bends that are present in some arteries. It may also takes a bit more time for the procedure with the new stent, as specialized imaging techniques are often required to make certain its firmly planted against the artery wall.
The dissolvable stents received FDA approval earlier this year and St. Mary Medical Center was involved in the clinical trials leading to the approval. The hospital is now among the first facilities in the nation to offer patients this groundbreaking new treatment option.
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