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St. Vincent’s HealthCare Becomes Only Health System in Region to Offer First-of-its-Kind Fully Dissolving Heart Stent

St. Vincent’s HealthCare, part of Ascension, the nation’s largest Catholic and non-profit health system, has become the first health system in Northeast Florida and second in the entire state to offer patients with coronary artery disease a new treatment option – the world’s first FDA-approved dissolving heart stent.

The use of stents has been shown to be important during the first three months after a blocked artery has been opened. After that, the artery can typically remain open on its own, making dissolving stents a natural next step in stent innovation.

The Absorb stent works similarly to a metal stent: It is placed into the artery and expanded so that it pushes plaque against the artery wall and enables better blood flow. Eventually, new tissue grows over the old tissue and the stent is no longer needed. However, unlike metal stents, which are permanent, Absorb is made of naturally dissolving material, similar to dissolving sutures. The stent gradually disappears over approximately three years, after it has kept the clogged artery open and promoted healing of the treated artery segment.

“When you break a bone and get a cast, the cast comes off once the bone has healed, providing you a full range of motion. This is what we can now offer many patients through the Absorb stent,” said Dr. Samer Garas, interventional cardiologist at St. Vincent’s Cardiology and the first in the region to use the dissolvable stent. “With Absorb, there is nothing left behind to restrict the artery from its natural motion once it has healed. This also leaves a patient’s options open should they need future intervention and allows us to more effectively treat patients who may not be ideal for a metallic stent.”

Interventional cardiologists first need to determine an artery’s size before they can properly place any stent. Currently, the Absorb dissolvable stent is only available in a relatively limited number of sizes when compared to metallic stents. Additionally, there are certain places within the heart in which metallic stents might be preferred, so dissolvable stents are not always an option.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women around the world and coronary artery disease it the most common type of heart disease. It affects 15 million people in the U.S.

To learn more about the Absorb dissolving heart stent, visit

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