Cardiac Care in Florida
The disappearing stent
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last summer approved the first fully absorbable stent to treat artery disease — a stent made from a biodegradable polymer similar to material used in sutures.
After the stent is implanted and used to open a cholesterolclogged artery, the body gradually absorbs it, eliminating the presence of foreign material in the artery after the stent is no longer needed. Once it is absorbed — which takes about three years — all that remains are four very small platinum markers embedded in the walls of the artery, which help cardiologists identify where the stent was placed. The device is an alternative to traditional metal stents, which remain in the artery and can develop scar tissue that causes the artery to narrow again.
Among those now using the device in Florida is Dr. Ramon Quesada, a cardiologist with HeartWell, a south Florida medical practice with 23 cardiologists in nine offices. Quesada, who is also a medical director at the Miami Cardiac Vascular Institute at Baptist Hospital, was a principal investigator during the clinical trials for the dissolvable stent. Quesada calls it a “revolutionary advancement” for treating coronary artery disease.
“It benefits the patient by treating the diseased artery, then gradually dissolving, leaving a healed artery that can pulse naturally, the way it was meant to function,” he says.
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