Christ Hospital first in nation to test dissolving heart device

Christ Hospital is the first in the nation to enroll heart patients in a clinical trial to test the quality and cost-effectiveness of a dissolving device that acts like a stent. It could reduce chest pain caused by an inadequate flow of blood.

Doctors at Christ Hospital’s Lindner Research Center will test Abbott’s Absorb Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold compared with a permanent metal stent. The doctors hope to assess how pain caused by angina affects a patient’s quality of life and health care costs.

Both the Absorb device and metal stents can be placed in the heart’s arteries after they are cleared of blockages to ensure blood flow. They also can help prevent future blockages. Complete blockage can cause heart muscle to die and lead to a heart attack.

The Absorb device is made of polylactide, a naturally dissolving material that is commonly used in sutures. The device is designed to allow the body to return to more normal function than possible with a permanent metal stent.

About 25 percent of patients treated with metal stents still experience angina over the course of the following year, previous studies indicated. Patients treated with the dissolving device reported less chest pain. The current study is designed to specifically test for that outcome