Breaking news: FDA approves biodegradable stents for CAD!!


I just received the news to confirm that now we will have available a new type of stent that completely disappears after about 3-5 years from implantation. It will also provide drug eluding technology. For those of you not aware of what I am talking about and why the excitement. A little explanation is in order. Stents are small spring-like devices that we have now for about 20years learned how to place inside your clogged arteries in your heart to treat and in some cases prevent a heart attack. This has revolutionized how we treat these obstructions or blockages in your heart arteries. In the past we have almost always recommended open heart bypass surgery when we found your heart arteries occluded. Millions have successfully avoided to undergo by pass surgery thanks to these stents. Conventional stents have also evolved in these past 20 yrs. They have gone from bare-metal stents to drug eluding stents. These last ones are superior by merit of releasing a drug over its surface that improves its performance over time. Weather drug eluding or bare metal these devices, although miniscule, once deployed to a lesion location will stay there forever since they are made of specific metal alloys. The stent once well deployed will not cause significant problems long term just by virtue of staying there years after it served its primary more urgent purpose, we have over 2 decades of data on that. Rare as it may be, occasionally a patient might years later have a mechanical problem related to the stent presence inside the artery months or years after it was deployed. Because of this a stent that is useful when needed but disappears after it has healed the acute lesion has always been the ideal situation and that is exactly what we finally get our hands on today. It took about 15 years. I remember back when I was training reading about the basic scientific papers on this, incredible that we have them now. If you or a loved one has heart trouble and needs a stent, please inquire about this type, I expect this to be a game changer.

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Melvin A. Martinez-Castrillon, MD