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The first operation in the UK to insert a heart patient with a new type of biodegradable stent has been carried out, it has been confirmed.
The procedure was carried out at the Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, and has been hailed at doctors as an “exciting evolution”.
The patient, a man from Leicester, is one of the 85,000 across the UK to have a stent – a tubular scaffold – installed to open up diseased arteries.
Usually the stent, which holds the artery open to prevent clogging, is made of metal.
But the new biodegradable stent, which will do the same job, will dissolve in around two years, when the artery is repaired.
Professor Tony Gershlick, the cardiologist who carried out the operation at Glenfield Hospital, said the procedure may be a turning point in how heart patients are treated.
He said: “We can’t state too much at this stage because clinical trials are ongoing but I think we may look back on this as a key moment in the way we manage patients with coronary artery disease.”
The stent has been manufactured by Abbott, and is undergoing trials in Europe as well as in Australia and New Zealand.
The first patient to be fitted with the biodegradable stent was in Auckland four years ago.
Copyright Press Association 2010