Newly approved heart stent implanted into first patient

Cardiologists have implanted Chicago-based Abbott Laboratories' new dissolving heart stent into the first patients, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The biodegradable stent, called Absorb, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration last Tuesday.

Doug Taylor, a 73-year-old marathon runner, became the first patient treated with the stent in the U.S on Wednesday. David Rizik, MD, performed the procedure at HonorHealth Scottsdale (Ariz.) Shea Medical Center.

Unlike permanent metal stents, Absorb fully dissolves after two to three years. Abbott intends for its stent to limit the need for repeat procedures, decrease the time patients need to be on blood thinners, and help restore normal motion in the arteries.

Since absorbable stents are bulkier and less forgiving than metal ones — and therefore may not be beneficial for patients with exceptionally small or large arteries — researchers warn that cardiologists must take into account the size of patients' vessels before recommending the dissolvable stent.

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