Abbott Laboratories has just unveiled their “bioabsorbable” coronary stents at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics conference in Washington D.C.
The medical products giant hopes the drug-coated stent, which is inserted after angioplasty to keep blocked pathways open, evolves into the next generation of medical devices for opening clogged arteries to the heart.
The goal of the study is to leave behind a healed vessel after the stent is absorbed, Abbott said. Although the company says more study of patient experience is needed, doctors say the development of a non-metallic stent could be important because existing devices can clutter or cloud pictures of hearts being diagnosed, even with the latest imaging technology.
“Why have a permanent implant for a temporary problem?” asked Dr. John Ormiston, the principal investigator on the Abbott study from Auckland City Hospital in New Zealand. Ormiston has been a paid consultant to the company.
The absorbable stent is made of polylactic acid, which is used in other medical products such as sutures used to close wounds after surgery and also absorb into the body, researchers say. It is coated with the same drug that Abbott uses on its drug-coated metal stent, known as Xience. The stent has been approved in Europe and Abbott will submit it to U.S. regulators next year for approval in 2008.