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Bioabsorbable coronary stents--are these the next big thing in coronary angioplasty?

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia School of Medicine, One Hospital Dr., Columbia, MO 65212, USA.


The role of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in the treatment of coronary artery disease has grown at an astronomical pace. Drug eluting stents (DES) offer advantages over bare metal stents (BMS) such as reduction in early in-stent restenosis rates. However, they have disadvantages like from increased late stent thrombosis when compared with BMS. Furthermore, recent data suggest endothelial dysfunction in the DES stented segments of the arteries. Currently, bioabsorbable stents are under development to avert the complications of DES such as stent thrombosis via degradation of the stent over time. The hypothetical advantage of leaving behind a natural vessel and restoring vasoreactivity may be the almost normal physiology which can be achieved after an intervention with a stent. The ABSORB and the PROGRESS AMS are two of the recent clinical trials that have looked at the outcomes of using bioabsorbable stents. So far, data from these and other studies has yielded mixed results in terms of angiographic and clinical outcomes. Newer stents such as REVA and WHISPER are presently being tested in preclinical and clinical trials. The landscape for bioabsorbable stents is constantly evolving through continued improvisation on existing technology and emergence of new technology. Large scale randomized trials are still needed with adequate long term follow-up for safety and benefits to have mainstream application in coronary artery disease, bioabsorbable stents are a promising innovation in the field of PCI. We review some of the patents and the data that is emerging on bioabsorbable stents in addition to currently ongoing clinical trials.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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