Elderly man gets Asia`s first biodegradable stent

New Delhi: Asia`s first biodegradable stent has been successfully implanted in a 65-year-old man for treating his artery blockage, doctors said.

M.P. Singh, a native of Bihar, was the first patient to undergo the surgery Tuesday.

The surgery at the Escorts Heart Institute was a part of the trials going on for the new Bioresorable Vasculas Scaffolds, a stent made of biodegradable polymer.

"Unlike the normal metallic stents which remain in the artery forever, these stents dissolve completely in two years time, leaving the artery as good as untouched," Fortis Escorts heart hospital Cardiovescular Sciences chairman Ashok Seth said.

The operation places a stent, a spring like structure in the artery, mounted on a balloon. The balloon, which breaks the blockage, is placed as a support so that the artery does not block again. So far, mettalic stents were being used for the surgery.

"This technique relieves the patient from the adverse effects of metallic stents which compelled patients to take blood thinning medicines. With these stents, risk can be reduced as they dissolve in two years time," Seth said.

The surgery is done through minimal invasive methods like leproscopy or robotic surgery. The patients are back to their feet in 24 hours.

Manufactured by US-based medical device company Abbott, the stent is expected to be a major breakthrough in the treatment of coronary artery diseases, which result from blockage of arteries.

The operation has been done under the Absorb Extend trial, the second phase of worldwide trials of the new technique. The first round saw trials on a total of 120 patients in New Zealand, Australia and Europe.

"We are presently carrying out trials in 100 centres over 40 countries. These trials would involve 1,000 patients," Abbot`s Regional Director and General Manager of South East Asia Amit Kumar said.

"So far, a total of 200 people have been treated using this technique," he said.

According to Kumar, a total of 100 patients will be taken for the trials in India across six centers in Delhi, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Lucknow.

"The Drug Controller General of India has been very supportive and we got approval for the trial approximately in six months of applying," he said.

"The trials will get completed in a year and a half, after that a complete report will be compiled. We are expecting to launch it commercially by 2013 and India will be among the first countries where it will be launched," he added.