Cardiology has experienced a new milestone in angioplasty. Brazil, world-renowned for its work in the field of cardiology, was the first country in the world to perform a heart stent implant in 1987. Now, Brazil has become part of an international study on the use of bio-absorbable stents.1 This particular innovation represents a revolutionary approach to how minimally invasive techniques treat chest ailments.
The future is absorbable
In Sao Paulo, a 66-year-old female patient had 93 percent of her right coronary artery blocked. She was the first patient in Brazil to receive a bio-absorbable stent in a procedure that Alexandre Abizaid, MD, from the Dante Pazzanese Institute and his team performed. Tested for about ten years in cardiac clearance procedures, these drug-eluting absorbable stents release immunosuppressive drugs for the first month. Six months after the procedure, the prosthesis, made from polylactic acid (a type of plastic used in sutures), begins to be absorbed by the body. "The main benefit of the new technique is to practically eliminate restenosis, which is the most common side effect of conventional stents; that can lead to new obstructions," explains Abizaid.
Brazil makes a statement in cardiology
The first drug-eluting bio-absorbable stent implants were performed in the Netherlands and New Zealand between 2007 and 2008..The results were positive and lead to an expanded study that included one thousand patients – and this is where Brazil stepped in. In Brazil, four institutions took part in the study; in addition to the Dante Pazzanese Institute, the Albert Einstein Hospital, the Hospital do Coração, and the Heart Institute of Minas Gerais (Uberlândia, MG) also participated.
The innovative bio-absorbable stent also poses a challenging feature in terms of how it can be imaged. Unlike metal stents, which are radiopaque, bio-absorbable models have only one radiopaque point at each end. "Therefore, the use of appropriate high-resolution imaging is essential for accurate placement and for verifying the location after the procedure," reasons Abizaid.
The Brazilian institution turned to Siemens’ Artis zee® angiography system for assistance to properly image the bio-absorbable stents. The Artis zee for interventional radiology supports clinical specialists in a variety of ways: its imaging chain offers outstanding image quality which allows for improved clinical decisions, while its workflow enhancements assist the clinical team to work more efficiently. Radiation levels for both patients and the clinical team are reduced without compromising the quality of the images.