Deployed in a similar fashion, stents evolved to help prevent a complication of angioplasty in which the previously opened lesion in the artery gradually re-narrows from continuing plaque build-up – a condition called restenosis. To further improve stent performance, the technology was more recently advanced to include “drug-eluting” devices coated with medications designed to further inhibit the growth of plaque at the treatment site.
For all their effectiveness at improving the outcomes of many patients with CAD, the risks of conventional, permanently placed stents are not insignificant, Dr. Farah said.
Patients receiving stents typically require prolonged use of blood thinning medications to prevent blood clots from forming within the device, which may cause sudden heart attacks. Stented lesions are also still prone to restenosis, particularly among one of the largest subsets of patients at risk for CAD –diabetics.
And for patients with advanced coronary disease, the presence of stents in multiple vessels has the potential to limit future heart surgery options, if needed.
“Because of these concerns, there has always been a desire to find a better way to accomplish the pivotal short term function of stents, without the long-term complications,” Dr. Farah said.
International studies to date of the Absorb device have been extremely encouraging and the start of the ABSORB III U.S. clinical trial follows the recent commercial launch of Absorb in Europe and parts of Latin America, Asia and India.
Absorb III is a prospective, randomized study that will compare Abbott’s drug-eluting Absorb BVS devise to the company’s XIENCETM family of drug eluting metallic stents. Both devices deliver everolim
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