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Scottsdale hospital to implant first US approved dissolving heart stent

The dissolvable heart stent on top of a penny. (HonorHealth Photo)

A brand new device to treat coronary artery disease will be implanted Wednesday at a Scottsdale hospital.

It is called a dissolving heart stent. It will unclog arteries and restore blood flow to the heart, like a regular, metal stent, but unlike a metal stent which stays in the artery, this dissolving stent loses most of its structure within in a year and completely dissolves within two to three years.

“By two to three years, the vessel can dilate, it can constrict, it can do all the things that normal blood vessels do under normal conditions,” said Dr. David Rizik with HonorHealth who will perform the first dissolvable heart stent procedure at Scottsdale Shea Medical Center.

He said normal artery function, like expanding and constricting, could not occur with a metal stent since it cages the artery. Rizik added there is also a benefit down the line when it comes to scarring from the stent.

“At one year, the amount of inflammation is about the same,” Rizik said. “It’s beyond a year when the scarring and inflammation (is expected) to be far less with this device than with the metal stents.”

Rizik said it took 10 years of research before this dissolvable stent was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. He said there is still a learning curve with this new device, but he hopes that all implanted heart stents will be dissolvable within the next five to 10 years.

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