Ascension Seton Heart Doctors Use Breakthrough Implant


absorb-image-deployed-5-HRHeart doctors say newly approved device is a major advance in treating blocked arteries

Ascension Seton Heart Institute, part of Ascension, are first in Central Texas to implant two newly FDA-approved dissolving stents in a 48-year-old Austin man. The naturally dissolving heart stent is a bioresorbable scaffold that opens clogged arteries to restore blood flow. It gradually dissolves in the body and restores the artery to its natural state. Stents are used during angioplasty, a procedure to restore the flow of blood to the heart.

“Ascension Seton is the only site in Central Texas that has been participating in the clinical trials of this stent for the past three years,” Steven Gigliotti, MD, principal investigator and Ascension Seton Heart Institute’s director of research, said. “We’re extremely excited about having another way to treat coronary artery disease because it remains a major health epidemic in our country.”

Device addresses a leading cause of death from heart disease

According to the American Heart Association, coronary artery disease – waxy buildup of fat and cholesterol in the vessels that supply blood to the heart – each year strikes 15 million people in the U.S. and remains a leading cause of death worldwide. Those with coronary artery disease can experience such symptoms as chest pain and shortness of breath when the demand for blood to the heart exceeds blocked vessels’ ability to supply it.

Different from metal stents, the bioresorbable stent is made of material similar to dissolving sutures. According to the device manufacturer, Abbott, the stent disappears completely in about three years, giving the body enough time to keep a clogged artery open and promote healing of the treated artery segment. See how the newer, disappearing stent works.

“Because of their permanent nature, metal stents may limit patients’ future treatment options,” Gigliotti said. “Metal also limits the arteries’ natural ability to expand and contract, which may contribute to continued chest pain, although that’s still open for debate.”

Ascension Seton Heart Institute: Leaders in stent clinical trials

Mark Pirwitz, MD, president and CEO of Ascension Seton Heart Institute, explained that cardiologists at Ascension Seton Heart Institute have been participating in the clinical trial of the stent and therefore received access to the new technology before any other hospital in Central Texas. “Being a part of this groundbreaking research shows our commitment to providing the most advanced heart health care to Central Texans and beyond,” Pirwitz said.

For more information about the ongoing dissolving stent study, read our Clinical Research guidelines.