New hope for heart patients: Biodegradable stents | delhi | Hindustan Times
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New hope for heart patients: Biodegradable stents

Retired Income tax officer from Patna, M.P. Singh, 65, became the first patient in India to be implanted a new scaffold—biodegradable stent—made from cornstarch instead of metal. Dr Ashok Seth, chairman, Fortis-Escorts Heart Research Institute, also the principal investigator in India for the trial, did the procedure.

delhi Updated: Dec 11, 2010 01:06 IST
HT Correspondent

Retired Income tax officer from Patna, M.P. Singh, 65, became the first patient in India to be implanted a new scaffold—biodegradable stent—made from cornstarch instead of metal. Dr Ashok Seth, chairman, Fortis-Escorts Heart Research Institute, also the principal investigator in India for the trial, did the procedure.

"Clinical trials are ongoing on across 100 centres all over the world but it is too early to talk about costs and long-term results," said Dr Seth.

The chances of restenosis— formation of new blockages within three to six months of stenting—at the site of angioplasty are 5%, same as that with metal stents.

"Unlike the metal stents, which remain in the body even after they have served their purpose, these biodegradable scaffolds will dissolve after the artery is repaired, turning into carbon dioxide and water after about two years," he said.

Also, once the scaffold dissolves, the arteries will be able to contract and relax like normal ones," he said. Other potential advantages over metal stents include the patient being able to undergo MRI and even stopping his blood-thinning medicines without the risk of clots forming in the arteries.

"Another big advantage will be that a patient with multiple stents, who had reached a no-option situation—they need repeat stenting or surgery but cannot go for it because of the long length of metal inside the arteries—will have both options available to them," he said.

Manufactured by Abbott, the biodegradable scaffold was first fitted in a patient in Australia four years ago. Besides Fortis Escorts (Delhi), four institutes across India—Apollo (Chennai), Care Hospital (Hyderabad), Madras Medical Mission and SAL hospital (Ahmedabad)— will carry out the trials in the next one year.

"Although a date hasn't been decided, these stents should be commercially available in one and a half years," said Dr Seth.