Abbott Laboratories has come up with a novel arterial stent for heart patients that dissolves when it has completed its job. The stent is made from a polymer that is used for other medical applications.
Stents are scaffold-like devices used to prop open clogged heart arteries. Most stents are made of metal. But Abbott’s new device, called Absorb, is made from a plastic-like material called polylactide that is commonly used in surgical sutures. The Absorb scaffold — Abbott doesn’t call it a stent — is designed to completely fade away in two years and to cease supporting arteries at six months.
Abbott won approval for Absorb this year from the European Union (EU) regulatory agency. However, for the time being, the company will only carry out limited marketing in Europe until it has more data next year. The company doesn’t plan on applying for U.S. regulatory approval until 2015.
Source: “Patients May Benefit From New Heart Device,” The Wall Street Journal, 03/30/11
Image: Abbott Laboratories Logo.
Rajendrani "Raj" Mukhopadhyay is a science writer and editor who contributes news stories and feature articles on scientific advances to a variety of magazines. Raj holds Ph.D. in biophysics from Johns Hopkins University.