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Heart patients to benefit from dissolvable stent


MEDICAL ADVANCE: The Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold dissolves in the body between 18 months and two years

GEORGE TOWN: A MEDICAL centre here is the first in the northern region to use a fourth generation coronary stent, known as the Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold (BVS), in the treatment of coronary artery disease (CAD).

Gleneagles Medical Centre (GMC) Penang consultant interventional cardiologist Dr Simon Lo said the BVS, unlike its predecessors, would dissolve naturally between 18 months and two years, leaving no foreign body in the patient.

Dr Lo said the scaffold was made of a special amino acid material called polylactide, which is a biocompatible compound that performs the function of holding the blood vessel open while it heals.

"The scaffold dissolves in water very slowly in months, and is released as water and carbon dioxide through a process called hydrolisis.

"After 18 months, you do not see the scaffold anymore.

"There is nothing in the artery. This is the biggest thing."

Dr Lo said a BVS had been implanted in a 48-year-old Indonesian patient at GMC earlier this month.

Previous procedures in the treatment of CAD included using bare metal or drug eluting stents.

Dr Lo said a bare metal stent acted as a scaffolding to prop open an artery at the site of a blockage and restore blood flow to the heart, while a drug eluting stent is coated with a layer of drugs.

He noted that the drug eluting stent reduced the possibility of the artery narrowing again, but said it left the metal inside the artery.

"The metal can never be dissolved. The metal will affect the integrity of your artery. You can still feel the pulse, but if there is a metal, the elasticity of your artery is affected.

"The metal does not allow the artery to expand, due to the presence of the stent."

Dr Lo said a BVS, which costs twice as much as a drug eluting stent, is coated with a layer of medication which is released in four to six weeks.

"It prevents the scar from growing and prevents the artery from getting blocked again.

"The scaffold is only temporary. The vessel is later restored to a more natural state, capable of natural vascular function. It remains free for future treatment options," he said.

Dr Simon Lo says the fourth generation stent was made of polylactide which dissolved slowly in water. Pic by Zuhainy Zulkiffli

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