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Pioneering, Biodegradable Heart Stents

Pioneering, Biodegradable Heart Stents


Allegheny General Hospital surgeons are using a biodegradable stent to lower the risk to patients. This new approach was first tested in actual patients during clinical trials at Allegheny Health Network (AHN). Now it is living proof of how we are using innovative technology to deliver high quality care.

Stents limit risks and aid recovery

The AbsorbTM stent, pioneered at AHN, helps patients with coronary heart disease avoid complications that could require more surgery or leave them at risk of a heart attack. It:

  • Is a small, metallic, mesh tube that is designed to open a blocked artery
  • Fully dissolves in two months
  • Leaves arteries free of a permanent metallic implant, except for tiny metallic markers

Pioneering research began at AHN

Allegheny General Hospital’s cardiovascular program was the first Pittsburgh hospital to enter the trial, in May 2013.  In 2014, Forbes Hospital became part of the multi-center clinical trial.

Turning research into results

Dissolvable stents work well for younger patients, with a discrete blockage in a wider heart vessel, as clotting has been a problem in smaller vessels. Studies at AHN and elsewhere led up to FDA approval of the dissolvable version on July 5, 2016.

Medical experts explain

“Down the line, the artery can resume its normal, what we call, vasomotor function. If you put a lot of stents in, it might preclude someone from having bypass surgery in the future if they have progression of the disease.  In this particular case, those stents get reabsorbed, and they’re gone,” said Dr. David Lasorda, cardiologist at Allegheny General Hospital.

 “Across every discipline in the treatment of cardiovascular disease, physicians at Allegheny Health Network continue to participate in pioneering research and clinical ingenuity,” — Dr. Tony Farah, AHN’s chief medical officer and AHN’s principal investigator in the ABSORB III clinical trial.  

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Allegheny General Hospital

Supporting Story

Surgeons at AHN have received FDA approval on a biodegradable heart stent which will drastically lower the risk of complications.