Arizona patient receives 1st US-approved, fully-dissolving heart stent

A heart stent that dissolves completely over time and represents the next major advance in coronary artery disease treatment was implanted on July 6 in the first US patient at HonorHealth Scottsdale Shea Medical Center.

The revolutionary device received approval from the US Federal Drug Administration on July 5 after years of clinical research and trials, according to a press release. Manufactured by Abbott Vascular, the stent, which is a small polymer tube that opens clogged arteries and helps restore blood flow to the heart, completely dissolves in the body two-to-three years after implantation.

“This is a game changer in coronary disease management,” David G. Rizik, MD, an HonorHealth interventional cardiologist, who was a principal investigator for the device during clinical trials at HonorHealth Research Institute, said in a prepared statement. He performed the first FDA-approved implant in the US. “It’s the next big advance.”

The new stent performs as well as or better than its predecessor, the drug-coated metal stent, but may have greater long-term advantages for the patients, the release said.

“With the fully dissolving stent, we believe there will be less scarring or inflammation,” Dr. Rizik said. “The artery can return to a more natural state, expanding and contracting with exercise or exertion. A metal stent is permanent and restricts motion by caging the vessel, giving it no opportunity to grow or enlarge.”

He noted that the fully-dissolving stent is a desirable option for patients who prefer not to have a permanent metal implant in their body for the rest of their lives. The new-improved stent is made of a material commonly used in such medical implants as dissolvable sutures and dissolvable bone screws. It is coated with a medication that reduces inflammation and tissue growth to help prevent further blockage of the artery, according to the release.

HonorHealth cardiac researchers spent the last 10 years working with the manufacturer to bring this technology to market, performing clinical trials and publishing numerous scientific papers that eventually led to FDA approval. Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease, the leading cause of death for both men and women in this country, the release said.

Heart disease facts:

  • Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the US, killing over 370,000 people each year.
  • Heart disease accounts for one of every seven deaths in the US.
  • Cardiovascular disease claims more lives than all forms of cancer combined.

According to the press release, patients with coronary artery disease can experience symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath when the demand for blood to the heart is more than the heart’s ability to supply blood due to blockages in the coronary arteries. The blockages are caused by the buildup of fat and cholesterol inside the vessel.

For more information about the procedure, go to or call 480-323-4195.


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