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St. Francis Medical Center One of Few Select Hospitals in State to Now Offer New Dissolving Heart Stent

St. Francis Medical Center is one of just six select hospitals in NJ to now offer new dissolving heart stent, just recently approved by the FDA.
TRENTON, NJ—Interventional cardiologists at St. Francis Medical Center, part of the Lourdes Cardiovascular Institute, are among the first in the state to implant a patient with the world’s first FDA-approved dissolving heart stent. St. Francis is one of six select hospitals in New Jersey to offer the new device.
Justin Fox, MD, FACC, FSCAI, an interventional cardiologist with Hamilton Cardiology Associates,implanted a patient with Abbott Asborb bioresorbable vascular scaffold on January 11. The device received FDA approval in July 2016.
Coronary artery disease (CAD) affects 15 million people in the United States and remains a leading cause of death worldwide despite decades of therapeutic advances. The Absorb device is a major advance in the treatment of CAD, said Reginald Blaber, MD, Executive Director, Lourdes Cardiovascular Institute and Vice President of Cardiovascular Services and Chairman, Department of Medicine at Lourdes.
“The Absorb stent is a game-changer in the treatment of blocked coronary arteries in selected patients,” said Dr. Blaber. “We’re proud to offer this first-of-its-kind technology to patients at St. Francis. We are committed to providing patients with leading-edge treatments. Bioresorbable stents represent the future of treating heart disease.”
While stents are traditionally made of permanent metal implants, the Absorb stent is made of a naturally dissolving material, similar to dissolving sutures. Absorb’s small mesh tube is designed to open a blocked heart vessel, restore blood flow to the heart, then gradually disappear over a three-to-five-year span. The device dissolves except for two pairs of tiny metallic markers that remain in the artery to enable a physician to see where the device was placed.
Because no permanent stent is left behind, there is less risk for blood clots, said Dr. Blaber. It also allows physicians to perform additional procedures in the treated vessel—should another intervention be needed in the future.
Coronary artery disease results in blockages caused by the buildup of fat and cholesterol in the vessels that supply blood to the heart, putting patients at risk for heart attack. Since the 1990s, physicians have treated patients with CAD with balloon angioplasty, and metallic and drug-eluting metallic stents, to open the blocked vessels, allowing many patients to avoid more invasive open heart surgery.
The Absorb stent is not for everyone. Currently, is not recommended for heavily calcified blockages or in small blood vessels.
“Lourdes Cardiovascular Institute is national leader in cardiac care,” said Dr. Blaber. “We are pleased to offer St. Francis patients the Absorb stent as an advanced treatment option.”
Most noted for its cardiac surgery program, St. Francis is the only hospital in Mercer County that provides cardiac surgery, and offers a state-of-the-art hybrid surgical suite that allows for interventional and surgical procedures to be performed in the same operating room, truly making it a destination hospital for cardiac care.
St. Francis has been recognized as a Top Performer for the key quality measures of Heart Attack, Heart Failure, Pneumonia, and Surgical Care by The Joint Commission. St. Francis was also named a Top Hospital in New Jersey by Castle Connolly and a 2015 Top Hospital for Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery by Inside Jersey magazine.
St. Francis Medical Center is part of Lourdes Cardiovascular Institute, one of the largest providers of cardiac services in the Delaware Valley. Known for its innovation in heart care, the New York Times featured Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center as a national model in the effective and swift treatment of heart attacks (June 2015) (
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