Developing an Absorbable Heart Stent
Novel Design Could Prevent Blood Clot Formation That Plagues Current Stents
WebMD News Archive
Stent Made of Biodegradable Polyester
The new stent is made of a biodegradable material that slowly releases the
drug everolimus to prevent blood vessels from reclogging. Everolimus is not FDA
approved for use in the U.S.
Serruys says its design eliminates two possible causes of blood clots: the
metal scaffold and the polymer coating.
There are other potential advantages as well. Because the stent is absorbed
over time, it may be easier to take MRI or CT images of the stented vessel so
doctors can monitor for problems. Also, it will be easier to perform new
stenting procedures on the same vessel, he says.
Most importantly, it’s a more natural process, Serruys says.
"When you put a metal cage in a vessel, the fate of the vessel is
doomed. It [the stent] controls the size of the vessel, which can never get
bounce back and get bigger.
"With the absorbable stent, you have natural healing, and the
flexibility of the vessel returns," he tells WebMD.
Studies in animals show that the stent is fully absorbed by the body in 12
to 18 months. Though it is not yet known how long it will take to dissolve in
humans, Serruys suspects it will take about two years.
The stent has already been redesigned to make it stronger, Serruys says.
Studies using the new device will begin later this year.
Serruys says he has no doubt the stent will eventually be on the market,
although it may take years. "This is the beginning of a new era. I am
Absorbable Stent a Welcome Option
Though more study is needed, doctors say an absorbable stent could prove a
"Given the whole question of late-stage blood clots associated with
drug-eluting stents, there is a lot of interest in making changes," says
Spencer B. King, MD, head of interventional cardiology at Piedmont Hospital in
"If the metal goes away ... it’s certainly possible you’ll have fewer
problems," he tells WebMD.