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Tuesday 16th January 2018

Trial of dissolving heart stent

29th September 2010

A new type of biodegradable stent has been fitted to a patient in England with a heart condition.

heart surgery

Metal stents in a tubular scaffold form are fitted into diseased heart arteries of about 85,000 patients in England every year following balloon angioplasty.

They hold the arteries in place but remain in the patients unless surgically removed whereas the new biodegradable stents made of corn starch will dissolve after about two years, by which time the artery will be repaired.

A 52-year-old man from Leicester has become the first UK heart patient to have a new type of stent with the procedure carried out by cardiologist Professor Tony Gershlick at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester.

He said: “This is undoubtedly an exciting evolution. We can't state too much at this stage because clinical trials are ongoing but I think we may look back on this as a key moment in the way we manage patients with coronary artery disease.”

The biodegradable scaffold is manufactured by Abbott and is being trialled in several European countries as well as Australia and New Zealand.

The British Heart Foundation said it would take up to five years of clinical trials before it will be known whether biodegradable stents offer any real advantage over metal ones.

BHF medical director Professor Peter Weissberg aid while the biodegradable stents were a move in the right direction he said he was certain these would be more expensive than conventional stents and there would be a question as to whether any benefits outweighed the additional costs.


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