A New Hope For Cardiac Patients: Dissolvable Stent
The dissolvable types of stent, medical devices used to keep cardiac vessels open, are becoming more common in recent years. Unlike metal stents, dissolvable stents do not remain inside the vessels for life. These stents start to dissolve after first 6 months and completely melts away in years, therefore the structure of cardiac vessels remains intact. Liv Hospital Cardiology Specialist Prof. Dr. Alp Burak Catakoglu explained the advantages dissolvable stent.
What are the symptoms of vascular occlusion or narrowness?After the athersclerotis plaque, consisted of fat and calcification inside the coronary arteries, reaches a certain extent, the blood supply of the heart muscle becomes disrupted. Some typical symptoms may occur when the heart muscle is not supplied with enough blood and oxygen. The most frequently highlighted symptom is a punch-like sensation in the middle or left side of the thorax, or a pain in the form of compression or tightness in a wider area. In some patients, this may be felt in the jaw, back or left arm. These symptoms can be very mild or sometimes very significant. Many patients with cardiovascular diseases may not have these typical symptoms; sometimes, shortness of breath during effort or premature fatigue can be the first signs of this disease. It may also progress quietly and stealthily in some patients, and a heart attack may be the first time that the disease reveals itself. Severe chest tightness can be accompanied by shortness of breath, cold sweat and fainting. In case of such condition, it is absolutely necessary to apply to the nearest health institution as quickly as possible.
What happens if vascular occlusion is not treated?According to World Health Organization (WHO) data, cardiovascular diseases are the most lethal diseases in the world. As the coronary vessels start narrowing, it may cause a heart attack in the future or may result in sudden death. People with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol or smoking in their parents or siblings may experience cardiovascular disease at an earlier age. Patients with increased cardiovascular risk in this group should be checked more carefully and frequently. Studies suggest that diabetic patients are at a four times higher risk of heart attack. In order to reduce the risk, it is very important to assume diabetic patients as cardiovascular patients from the beginning and regularly review their treatment with a cardiologist. Early intervention can save patients who have a heart attack, while it may result in the death of some patients or they may suffer from severe damage to cardiac tissue and have to struggle with heart failure. Therefore, the main goal is to diagnose cardiovascular disease at an early stage, before a heart attack, and to take necessary precautions.
What diseases does vascular occlusion cause?Vascular occlusion can lead to heart attacks, cardiac failure, rhythm irregularities and death. Vascular occlusion and stenosis can be diagnosed at an early stage with the present technology. Depending on the risk profile of the patient, cardiologists can start the treatment at an early stage and determine the severity of the disease by use of many advanced test methods.
In which situations can the dissolvable stent be used?The use of dissolvable stents can be considered for almost all patients who are eligible for metal or drug-coated metal stents. And it has additional advantages for some patients. It is recommended for patients who are to receive stents for the first time. Makes it easier to apply future treatment to the same area. Young patients benefit more. It should be preferred for patients who are likely to undergo the procedure again in the future. Recurrent occlusion and repeat treatment should be taken into consideration in patients with risk factors. Therefore, metal stents may require second metal stent placement (sometimes even for the third time). In particular, diabetes, hypertension, smoking, high cholesterol and cardiac disease history in the family increases this possibility. Instead of standard angiography, coronary tomography can be used for the follow-up of the stented area, therefore patient comfort and safety is increased. Application of metal stent to patients with metal allergy increases the likelihood of repeated occlusion. It can be applied for thin vessels and long-term diseases area, which may not be eligible for bypass surgery.
What are the advantages of dissolvable stent?Coronary vessels’ stent need is for short-term. There is no advantage in leaving the stent inside the vessel after its task is completed.
After the stent is dissolved, the vascular structure remains intact with normal functions. It does not hinder future treatments.
Re-stenting the same area or bypass operation may pose a few challenges.
Blood thinner drug use is shortened.
It is impossible to examine an area with metal stent by using tomography. However, vessels with dissolvable stent can be visualized with coronary tomography. It increases quality of life.