Namdeo Chougule, 45, a farmer from Kolhapur was the first patient in the county to be implanted with a bioresorbable stent by Dr Ganesh Kumar, consultant cardiologist, LH Hiranandani hospital, Powai.
A bioresorbable stent, unlike a metallic one, dissolves in the body over a period of 18-24 months and allows the blood vessels to continue their function. The stent is made of polyactide, a polymer derived from corn starch.
"With this stent, the patient can discontinue blood thinners after 18 months. It works for those patients who are unable to take medication regularly," said Dr Kumar.
While the stent costs around Rs. 3 lakh, the hospital conducted the entire procedure free of cost for Chougule, as he is from the economically backward category of patients, 10% of who are supposed to get treatment free of cost in charitable trust hospitals every year.
"The artery can behave normally after this procedure, which is not possible with a metal stent," said Dr Kumar.
A bioresorbable stent was also implanted in K Natrajan, 71, from Surana Hospital, Chembur, for three blocks in his heart. "Nat-rajan will not require blood thinners after some time which will help him if he has to undergo any other surgery. He has already undergone a bypass surgery for two blocks ten years ago," said Dr Prince Surana, medical director, Surana group of hospitals.
The restenosis rate (chances of reoccurrence) of the block is considerably less when bioresorbable stents are implanted rather than metallic stents, experts said.
"Since the stent dissolves, one need not do an angiography to check on the artery's condition," said Dr VT Shah, consulting cardiologist, Surana Hospital.