Dissolvable Stents Get Terry Back on the Range


DALLAS. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Coronary artery disease affects 15 million Americans and remains the leading cause of death, killing more than 610,000 annually. The FDA has approved a new type of stent that dissolves over time, and gives doctors more life-saving options.

Sixty-five-year-old Terry Heil thought he was in perfect health, until a stress test revealed almost total blockage in two major coronary arteries.

Heil told Ivanhoe, “The doctors told me this condition I had is what they call the widow maker. It’s what could have happened, walk across the yard and fall over dead. Nothing you could do about it; too late.”

Rather than open heart surgery, doctors at Baylor Heart and Vascular Hospital in Dallas, Texas, opened the blockages with stents, including the newly-approved bioabsorbable non-metal stent.

“With this biodegradable stent, over a period of time, it will just dissolve and go away as if it were never there in the beginning,” explained Heil.

James Choi, M.D., an interventional cardiologist at Baylor Heart and Vascular Hospital, detailed, “In fact, one of the reasons we chose the bioabsorbable stent in the artery down the front of the heart is that gives us the option of future bypass surgery as well.” (Read Full Interview)

Stents are scaffolding that keep arteries open, but they are not needed after a few months. Sometimes metal stents get in the way and make it impossible for a surgeon to do a future bypass. The bio-absorbable stent keeps that option.  After recovering from the procedure, Heil was back working on his ranch in a matter of days.

“In terms of his recovery and his ability to go back to what he loves, his work on his ranch, his recovery time would have been significantly more, probably in the order of months,” said Dr. Choi.

Heil said, “I love it. I couldn’t imagine living in town, and so I’d hate to have to move to town because of my health. I don’t feel like I have to now.”

Baylor in Dallas took part in the FDA studies. The new absorbable stent also gives patients peace of mind, since they don’t have a permanent metallic implant.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Don Wall, Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; Mark Montgomery, Videographer.


TOPIC:       Dissolvable Stents Get Terry Back on the Range

REPORT:   MB #4221


BACKGROUND: Coronary heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease or heart disease is a disease that affects 15 million Americans each year and is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. The result of plaque buildup in the arteries leads to this condition. When plaque  builds in the wall of the arteries it can cause an artery to go from smooth and elastic to rigid and narrowed. The plaque buildup restricts the blood flow to heart; leading to lack of oxygen to the heart, which can result in a heart attack or cardiac death.
(Source: http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/guide/heart-disease-coronary-artery-disease#1)

SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENTS: The most common symptoms of heart disease are chest pain, like pressure, heaviness, aching, numbing and burning that can be felt not only in the chest but also in other parts of the body. Other symptoms include nausea, sweeting and fatigue, which are more likely for a woman to experience, as well as shortness of breath and palpitations, which are more common in men. Coronary artery disease can be treated with lifestyle changes that include stopping the usage of tobacco, alcohol, and following a healthy diet and exercising; as well as medications like aspirin and statins. Other common treatments include several types of surgery including:

  • Balloon angioplasty
  • Stent placement
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery.  

(Source: http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/guide/heart-disease-coronary-artery-disease#2)

BIOASORBABLE STENT: Stent placement is a surgery that is usually recommended to patients suffering from coronary artery disease. While this is a treatment that helps patients boost their blood supply to the heart, it is traditionally made of metal which restricts the vessel motion for the life of the person treated. Furthermore, the metal implant doesn’t allow for a future bypass. Abbott’s Absorbe is a new type of stent that is made out of natural dissolving materials that are similar to dissolving sutures. Once the Abbott stent has done its job of keeping a clogged artery open, the stent disappears completely from the body within three years, leaving no metal behind that can interfere with the motion of a natural vessel; it also allows for future procedures to take place. This new bioabsorbable stent is FDA approved and it has treated more than 150,000 people in more than 100 countries, including more than 1,000 patients in U.S. clinical studies. Baylor in Dallas was involved in the Absorb 3-USA clinical trial, and it is now involved in the Absorb 4 trial.
(Source: http://abbott.mediaroom.com/2016-07-05-FDA-approves-Abbotts-Absorb-bioresorbable-stent-the-only-fully-dissolving-heart-stent & Dr. James W. Choi)



Susan Hall



If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for James W. Choi, M.D.

Read the entire Q&A