When Emanuel Medical Center unveiled their Justin Ferrari Cardiovascular Operating Suites in 2014, it was billed as a state-of-the-art facility that would usher in a new era of procedures, techniques and possibilities that would change the type of cardiac care in Turlock. Now, it appears that promise is coming to fruition.
Emanuel Medical Center recently became the first hospital in the San Joaquin Valley to implant a new FDA-approved dissolving heart stent in a patient with coronary artery disease. The new stent, made of a biodegradable polymer, which is similar to the material used in dissolving sutures, is designed to dissolve completely in about three years, reducing the risk of future blockages.
“We are proud to be the first hospital in our area to successfully implant the dissolving stent in a patient,” said Sue Micheletti, CEO of Emanuel Medical Center. “This is another major step toward our goal of maintaining and enhancing Emanuel’s reputation for offering our community exceptional heart care.”
The Food and Drug Administration approved the device in July to use on patients with coronary artery disease. When cholesterol-containing deposits build up and narrow the coronary arteries, blood flow to the heart decreases and can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue or other heart disease symptoms. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, coronary artery disease is responsible for approximately 370,000 deaths in the United States each year.
The new stent, made of a biodegradable polymer, which is similar to the material used in dissolving sutures, is designed to dissolve completely in about three years, reducing the risk of future blockages. The material is designed to slowly dissolve over about a year’s time.
Although traditional metal stents (small mesh tubes) have been used successfully in cardiac patients for many years, scar tissue can sometimes develop. Stents are inserted into the patient’s artery during a procedure known as coronary angioplasty to help restore blood flow through narrow or blocked arteries.
The dissolving stent is predicted to alleviate the concerns of possible ongoing issues from the use of metal stents.
“The issue with metal stents is that after a blockage in a blood vessel is cleared, it only needs support for a matter of months until the vessel heals and can stay open on its own,” explained Dr. Ali H. Reza. “After that, the metallic stent serves no additional purpose, and can, in fact, be a hindrance.”
Reza was the first doctor to perform the procedure at Emanuel. Since that time 20 patients have been successfully treated with the procedure at Emanuel by several interventional cardiologists.
“The dissolving stent is an innovative therapy for patients with coronary artery disease and one of the pioneering options we are able to provide to our patients,” said Dr. Oussama Dagher, medical director of cardiovascular services at Emanuel. “This novel technology promises to be a great addition to the treatment options we already offer our patients.”