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New stent could help those with coronary artery disease

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Coronary artery disease is common in older Americans and now there is a relatively new stent available to patients which promises healthy arteries without the risk of clot formation.

The stents are made of polylactic acid, the same as some suture materials, which absorbs into the body.

The stent is placed into a blocked artery by using balloon angioplasty.  Plaque is broken up, and then that stent keeps the artery open and disappears completely in time.

Dr. William Berg of St. Francis Hospital has been tracking this coronary stent. He says it’s been implanted in 150,000 patients worldwide and has been studied in 30,000 patients. He says it’s not everyone, but he likes it.

“What it does is, it allows the artery to heal on its own. When we put it in, it acts as a scaffold to hold the artery open. Then over the first three months it eludes a drug to prevent scar tissue. At six months, it starts to dissolve slowly.

"It’s gone between two and three years,” said Dr. Berg.

This new stent has been used in 100 countries. The FDA has approved it for use here in the U.S.

“We know that by the time these new products arrive here and we put them in our patients, they’ve been well documented, safe and effective,” said Dr. Berg.

Dr. Berg describes the material used in this stent as stiff.  It doesn’t turn corners well. He believes over time, as this material is changed and refined even further, it will become like every other stent. He says for now it tends to get used in younger rather than older patients.

For more on stents in general, click here.

4 Your Health is presented by American Senior Communities

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