Sutter Health advances cardiovascular service by offering first-of-its-kind fully dissolving heart stent in Bay Area and Sacramento
Recently approved by FDA, Absorb bioresorbable vascular scaffold opens clogged arteries to restore blood flow, then gradually dissolves in the body
Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento and Mills-Peninsula Health Services, both affiliates of Sutter Health, will be among the first in the country to offer patients with coronary artery disease a new treatment option, the Abbott Absorb stent, which literally disappears in the body over time.
Sailesh Shah, M.D., an interventional cardiologist at Sutter Medical Center and David Daniels, M.D., an interventional cardiologist at Mills-Peninsula will implant patients with the world’s first FDA-approved dissolving heart stent.
The Absorb bioresorbable vascular scaffold is a major advance in the treatment of coronary artery disease, which affects 15 million people in the United States and remains a leading cause of death worldwide despite decades of therapeutic advances.
While stents are traditionally made of metal, Abbott’s Absorb stent is made of a naturally dissolving material, similar to dissolving sutures. Absorb disappears completely in about three years, after it has done its job of keeping a clogged artery open and promoting healing of the treated artery segment. By contrast, metal stents are permanent implants.
“This is the first real game-changer in coronary stents since 2003, when drug-coated metal stents were developed, helping to reduce risk of renarrowing of the arteries,” Dr. Daniels explained. “With dissolving stents you have the best of both worlds: you have the benefit of using a less invasive procedure than open heart surgery, and then the stent disappears, leaving no metal behind to restrict motion of the blood vessels.”
To ensure optimal patient selection and implant technique, Sutter’s interventional cardiology teams underwent extensive training on the new device. Dr. Daniels is one of a small group of physicians nationwide who train other interventional cardiologists on complex stenting procedures.
“The real benefit to the patient is better arterial health,” said Dr. Shah. “This new stent does not reduce bed rest or allow you to take fewer medicines, but it does promote better arterial health because you don’t have metal constricting your arteries and it facilitates the return of natural vascular function.” Dr. Shah occasionally returns to his native India to volunteer his time as a cardiologist, and began implanting the dissolving heart stent on patients there three years ago.
Sutter Health’s cardiovascular services bring together a multidisciplinary approach that provides the full continuum of cardiovascular care for our patients. More information about the Absorb dissolving heart stent is available online.
 Absorb dissolves except for two pairs of tiny metallic markers that remain in the artery to enable a physician to see where the device was placed.