BALTIMORE, MD--(Marketwired - August 08, 2016) - MedStar Union Memorial Hospital became the first and only hospital in Maryland to offer a fully dissolvable cardiac stent to patients fighting coronary artery disease, when Dr John C. Wang, chief of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, implanted this first of its kind technology in the right coronary artery of a 60-year old patient today.
Newly approved by the Food and Drug Administration, this heart stent, known as the Absorb bioresorbable vascular scaffold, is a major advancement in the treatment of coronary artery disease, which affects 15 million people in the United States and remains a leading cause of death worldwide.
While cardiac stents are traditionally made of metal and are permanent fixtures in a patient's artery, this new absorbable stent is made of a naturally dissolving material, similar to those used in dissolving sutures. The stent will begin to dissolve about one year after it's been implanted and will be completely gone after about three years. By then, it has done its job keeping a clogged artery open, and promoting healing of the treated artery segment.
"The real advantage for patients is that once the stent is gone, the blood vessel returns to its normal function," said Dr. Wang. "Typically, after a metallic stent is implanted, the vessel forever loses its ability to contract and dilate. With the Absorb stent, once the scaffolding is dissolved, the vessel regains its full function. This technology has changed our way of thinking about coronary artery disease. It makes sense to treat a temporary problem with a stent that dissolves, than to implant a permanent stent, recognizing that not all patients or lesions are suitable for the technology."
About the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute
MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute is a network of highly acclaimed and nationally recognized cardiac experts and care programs spanning all 10 MedStar Health hospitals in the mid-Atlantic region. In the Baltimore area, MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute experts are accessible at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, MedStar Harbor Hospital, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, and more than a dozen community locations. MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital is allied with the Cleveland Clinic, the nation's #1 heart program, giving patients accelerated access to the most advanced research, technologies and techniques in cardiology and cardiac surgery. This alliance also strengthens excellent clinical care and enables high-level collaboration on research.
About MedStar Health
MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar's 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health's patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit MedStarHealth.org.