Stent made with biodegradable plastic as good as current gold standard

The polymers used in stents are non-biodegradable, and they have stainless steel components, both of which are linked to increased risk of complications. Source: istockphoto

A new coronary artery stent made, in part, with a biodegradable plastic is as good as the current gold standard, according to a study presented at the ESC Congress 2014 in Barcelona, Spain, and published simultaneously in The Lancet. The advantages of the new stent, according to Medical News Today (MNT), which reported on the study, are the use of an ultrathin cobalt chromium strut and biodegradable polymers. Conventional stents incorporate stainless steel components and nonbiodegradable polymers, which are linked to patient complications.

In the Bioscience study conducted in Switzerland, patients with coronary artery disease were randomly assigned to receive the new stent or the standard model. They were followed for 12 months.

The trial was designed to show the noninferiority of the experimental stent, and it did, indeed, match the outcomes of one of the safest and most-effective new-generation drug-eluting stents, said Bioscience investigator and study author Dr. Thomas Pilgrim of the Swiss Cardiovascular Center at University Hospital in Bern. Combining an ultra thin platform with a polymer that completely degrades is the next logical step in stent refinement, he added.

Among a subgroup of patients who had heart attacks, the new stent performed even better than current technology. Only 3.3% of patients fitted with the experimental stent experienced adverse effects compared with 8.7% implanted with a conventional stent, reports MNT. Pilgrim cautioned, however, that this result could be attributed to chance and that further studies will be needed.