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Saint Thomas Health Becomes the First Hospital in Middle Tennessee to Use Dissolvable Heart Stent

December 9th 2016

Contact: Nick Paranjape, (615) 284-1210, Nick.Paranjape@STH.ORG

It’s a device made of naturally dissolving material to treat coronary artery disease and Saint Thomas Health, part of Ascension, the nation’s largest Catholic and non-profit health system, has become the first hospital in Middle Tennessee to utilize the revolutionary device.        

While stents are traditionally made of metal, the Abbott Absorb stent is made of a naturally dissolving material, similar to dissolving stitches.  A traditional metal stent, which is used to treat the disease affecting 15 million people in the U.S., is used to open up a clogged artery.  Once a metal stent is put in, it remains in the artery for the life of the patient.  The dissolvable stent disappears completely in about three years.  “The great thing about that is the normal ability of the vessel to contract and expand within the muscle inside the wall of the blood vessel comes back in the way it can’t if there’s a metal lining inside the vessel,” said Paul McMullan, M.D., cardiologist at Saint Thomas Health who was the first to perform the procedure at the hospital.  

The first patient to have the dissolvable stent was 77-year-old Ernie Taylor of Nashville.  The retired executive had 75 percentage blockage in one of his arteries.  A week after having the procedure, Taylor headed to China for a two week vacation.  “Technology is improving and new things are available and the fact I got lucky enough I got the first, I think it’s good”, said Taylor.  

The Abbott Absorb dissolving stent was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the summer of 2016, although it’s been used in Europe for years.  
To make an appointment with a Saint Thomas Heart cardiologist, go to www.saintthomasheart.com or www.saintthomasdoctors.com

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