The BVS Disappearing Stent: Promise, Hype and the Tension Between Progress and Safety Print
Written by Dr. John M   
Tuesday, 02 August 2016 17:06

Medicine does not stand still. You want innovation; you want progress. But you also want safety.

Millions of patients have coronary stents placed in the arteries supplying blood to the heart. It's big business.

Metal cages placed in the setting of a heart attack can be life saving. In other settings, however, the strongest quality evidence says metal cages perform no better than medicines.

One of the two main reasons stents don't improve long-term outcomes for patients with stable coronary disease are that they trade improved blood flow (good) for the presence of a metal cage in the artery (bad). The metal cage can stimulate inflammation and cause the artery to lay down more blockage (neo-atherosclerosis). Also, the exposed metal can attract platelets and form clots (really bad).

But what if you could design a stent that dissolved over time? It opens the blockage, improves blood flow, stabilizes the vessel, and then disappears.

This is the promise of Abbott Vascular's Absorb GT1 bioresorbable vascular scaffold (BVS) system. It's been used in Europe since 2011 and was just approved by the FDA.

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