Seton Heart Institute to take part in dissolving stent study


by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and photojournalist ERIN COKER and editor ROB DIAZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @JimB_KVUE

Posted on July 29, 2013 at 10:24 AM

Updated Monday, Jul 29 at 10:40 AM

AUSTIN -- Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States. Anyone with a history of clogged arteries will want to continue reading.

The Seton Heart Institute has been chosen to take part in a clinical trial involving a new stent. The Absorb Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold, or stent, is surgically implanted like other stents but after it does its job, it just disappears over time.

Blood vessels that narrow and become clogged, limiting the blood flow. It's the classic symptom of coronary artery disease. The Absorb stent is designed to open clogged vessels and provide temporary support to restore blood flow to the heart.

"This is a big deal," said Osvaldo Steven Gigliotti, M.D., an interventional cardiologist at Seton Heart Institute. "This is true step forward in the treatment of coronary artery disease."

The Absorb stent is made out of the same materials as dissolving sutures. Doctors say it will help the body to heal itself.

As the blood vessel begins to heal the stent slowly metabolizes into water and carbon dioxide - both elements that occur naturally in the body. Eventually -- after about a year or two -- the stent dissolves and the vessel can remain open without the extra support.  

"Just like when we went from balloons to metal stents and from metal stents to drug alluding stents, this is another major step forward in the field of interventional cardiology," said Gigliotti.

Gigliotti says the dissolving stent will make it easier for doctors to go back in if future interventions are needed.

"This way if we put a stent in and over a period of a year or two it's gone, then something happens in a year or two, we can go back in and have a fresh surface to work with if you will," said Gigliotti. "It's sort of a blank slate."

"I'm excited, because it could change lives," said Lisa Ranney, the CATH Lab manager at Seton Medical Center.

With a history of heart disease in her family, Ranney say she's excited about the stent's potential.

"Even for myself on down the road it could happen," she said. "This thing could change lives (including mine)."

More than 2,000 patients will take part nationwide in the three year trial. Seton Heart Institute is now enrolling patients. If you'd like more information, click here.