“This is truly a first in the U.S.,” said Tupelo cardiologist Dr. Barry Bertolet. “It’s brand new to the country.”
As part of a national study, NMMC Heart Institute placed the Abbott Absorb bioresorbable vascular scaffold in December. Like a metal stent, the scaffold keeps a coronary artery open after a blockage has been cleared, but the Absorb slowly dissolves after the artery heals, Bertolet said.
The Absorb scaffold, which has been studied in Europe, Japan and Australia, is made from the same material used in dissolving sutures – polyactide.
“This stent performs as well as what we’re already using,” Bertolet said. Now researchers and physicians want to know if the absorbable scaffold can improve on the shortcomings of metal stents by:
• Reducing the long term use of blood thinners
• Allowing future interventions like coronary bypass and
• Enabling stented blood vessel to increase the flow of blood in response to normal activities like exercise.
NMMC was one of a small group of hospitals around the country selected by Abbott to be a part of the lead group for these new kind of stents, that includes the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic and Harvard-affiliated hospitals.
Being a part of this elite group involved a lot of team work, Bertolet said.
“I give all the credit on this first case to the supporting staff at Abbott, the NMMC Institutional Review Board, NMMC’s Cath Lab staff and the Cardiology Associates of North Mississippi research team,” Bertolet said.