Cardiologists at Apollo Hospital, Chennai have successfully used a drug-coated absorbable stent in two patients, aged 68 and 70years, 15days ago. Both the patients are medically fit. These surgeries are part of the last phase of clinical trials being conducted across the world.
Cardiologists are looking forward to replace the metallic stent used for clearing blockages in an artery with a drug-coated absorbable stent. This drug coated stent can be absorbed in the body within 2years of restoring the blood flow. One advantage of using absorbable stents over metallic stents is that, patients with absorbable stents can be taken off the blood thinning medicines, unlike patients with metallic stents who have to continue with these medicines lifelong. The material used to make this stent is the same that is used for making absorbable sutures and implants. The stent is then coated with an anti-cancer drug which prevents the clotting up of the artery. Within 2years this stent degrades into carbon dioxide and water.
Consultant cardiologist at Apollo Hospital, Dr. Sai Satish said, "This is another revolution in cardiology. If the trial succeeds, this stent is likely to replace all the existing ones." Director and head of interventional cardiology, Dr. Mathew Samuel Kalarickal said, "Drug-eluting stents have been proven safe, but the presence of a metal in the body makes doctors anxious. It is good to have a device that can be absorbed after it does its job." This product has been approved for marketing in Europe and will be available there from next year, while it is expected to be available in India by 2013. As part of clinical trials this stent will be implanted free of cost across 100 centers in the world, including 6 from India- Apollo Hospitals and Madras Medical Mission from Chennai, Escorts Heart Research Institute in Delhi, SGPGI in Lucknow, Care Hospital in Hyderabad and SAL Hospital in Ahmedabad.