Cottage now offers dissolving heart stent

SANTA BARBARA – The interventional cardiology team at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital recently became the only California hospital north of Los Angeles and the second in the state to offer patients with coronary artery disease an advanced, first-of-its-kind treatment option.

Dr. Michael Shenoda, interventional cardiologist for Sansum Clinic and the Cottage Heart & Vascular Center at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, implanted a patient last week with Absorb, the world’s first FDA-approved dissolving heart stent.

The Absorb bioresorbable vascular scaffold is a major advance in the treatment of coronary artery disease, which affects 15 million people in the United States and remains a leading cause of death worldwide, despite decades of therapeutic advances.

While stents are traditionally made of metal, the Absorb stent is made of a naturally dissolving material, similar to dissolving sutures. The Absorb device disappears in about three years, after it has achieved its goal of keeping a clogged artery open and promoting healing of the treated artery segment. By contrast, metal stents are permanent implants.

“After a blockage in a blood vessel is cleared, it only needs support for a matter of months until the vessel heals and can stay open on its own,” Dr. Shenoda explained. “After that, the metallic stent serves no additional purpose, and can, in fact, be a hindrance.

“The stent dissolves except for two pairs of tiny metallic markers, which help guide placement and remain in the artery to enable a physician to see where the device was placed,” he added.

In 2013, Dr. Shenoda and Dr. Joseph Aragon, director of the structural heart program and cardiac catheterization lab at the Cottage Heart & Vascular Center and Chair of the Cardiology Department at Sansum Clinic, were the first physicians in the Central Coast region to enroll patients in the Absorb research trials conducted at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

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About Cottage Health
The not-for-profit Cottage Health is the leader in providing advanced medical care to the Central Coast region. Specialties include the Cottage Children’s Medical Center, Level 2 Trauma Center, Neuroscience Institute, Heart & Vascular Center, Center for Orthopedics, and Rehabilitation Hospital. The Cottage Health medical staff is comprised of more than 700 physicians, many with subspecialties typically found only at university medical centers. Last year, the Cottage Health hospitals in Goleta, Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez Valley provided inpatient care for 19,000 people, treated 76,000 patients through their 24-hour emergency departments and helped deliver 2,200 newborns.

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