Dissolving device offers new treatment for heart disease

Dissolving device offers new treatment for heart disease

New heart care technology being used at the Advocate Heart Institute at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill. is dissolving inside of patients.

Cardiologists at the Institute are some of the first in the state to begin implanting heart stents that leave patients without any hardware inside of their body.

The device, known as the Absorb™ Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold System, is a treatment method for those suffering from coronary artery disease (CAD), which is caused by a buildup of plaque on the artery wall, limiting blood flow to the heart. Patients suffering from CAD find themselves experiencing shortness of breath, chest pain or even a heart attack. Risk factors that increase an individual’s likelihood of suffering from CAD include being overweight, having high cholesterol and/or blood pressure and not being physically active enough.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CAD is the most common type of heart disease, responsible for 370,000 US deaths each year.

Typically, treatment for blocked arteries includes medication, lifestyle changes or surgical options; depending on his or her condition, a patient may undergo open heart surgery, known as coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), or an angioplasty, a procedure during which cardiologists locate the blockage and open the artery using a stent. Placement of a stent promotes blood flow back through the artery.

Stents have traditionally been made of metal and are a permanent fixture in the artery. But the new bioresorbable stent, composed of the same material as dissolving surgical stitches, completely breaks down after approximately three years. As it dissolves, new cells replace the stent, allowing restoration of the blood vessel, something not possible with permanent metal stents.

“Because this device leaves nothing permanent behind, it makes it easy for both the physician and patient if something needs to be done in the future with the vessel, such as if we determine that a patient requires bypass surgery,” says Dr. Surendra Avula, a cardiologist at the Advocate Heart Institute who placed Advocate’s first Absorb™ stent. “This is an exciting advancement in the world of cardiology, and the outcomes with this stent have been excellent.”

Do you know your risk for heart disease? Take our heart risk assessment here. If you are at high risk, see one of Advocate Heart Institute’s cardiologists within 24 hours.

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About the Author

Holly Brenza
Holly Brenza

Holly Brenza, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator on the content team at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading, watching the White Sox and Blackhawks, playing with her dog, Bear and running her cats' Instagram account, @strangefurthings.