Mumbai: This week a Mumbai housewife underwent a revolutionary procedure to tackle blockages in the coronary arteries - using a `bioresorbable scaffold`,or what is known as a stent that melts away after doing its job.
Introduced in India in December 2012, Abbot Laboratories` "Absorb Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold" (ABVS), has been steadily growing in popularity among heart patients undergoing angioplasty, a doctor said.
As the name implies, the ABVS is implanted in one or more spots where the coronary arteries are blocked, remains within the system for two years and then naturally melts away after doing its work, said Dr. Prince Surana, director, Surana group of hospitals in Chembur in north Mumbai.
"It was launched commercially by Abbot Laboratories in Europe in mid-2012 offering an unprecedented medical option to heart patients. This was a major step forward from 2002 when drug eluting stents revolutionised the outcome of angioplasty procedure to tackle blockages in coronary arteries," interventional cardiologist V.T. Shah, who performed the surgery on the Mumbai woman last week, told IANS.
"The Abbott ABVS has already proved to be a big hit since its launch nine months ago. Over 7,500 such scaffolds have been used in more than 5,000 patients in 500 plus hospitals across the country," Surana said.
One patient in Mumbai who was implanted with six ABVS a few months ago by Shah is also doing fine.
The overwhelming response ensured that an ABVS scaffold`s cost came down by almost 35 percent - from Rs.300,000 to a little less than Rs.200,000 now, though it is more expensive than some of the drug eluting stents which are available for around Rs.150,000.
Besides the other medical benefits, Abbott Vascular Absorb is now available with an insurance cover of up to Rs.200,000 through the company.
"Accordingly, if the patient encounters any problems during the two-year period when the Absorb scaffold remains in the body before melting into the system, the company will take care of a repeat procedure and all other associated costs in collaboration with Paramount Health Services Pvt Ltd," Surana said.
He said: "The insurance policy will definitely help many patients to accept the latest technology to reduce the recurrence rate and increase the long-term safety."
"Our self-paying patient, Meena Asnani, 53, became the first person to benefit under this option when she underwent an angioplasty this week," said Surana.
In western countries, angioplasty procedures have surpassed the number of bypass surgeries with only a 5-7 percent recurrence rate compared to 20-30 percent in the non-drug eluting stent era, he added.
Shah said cardiovascular diseases continue to lead the death rolls in India in the non-communicable diseases segment and around 20 million people succumb to it worldwide annually.
These days, even young patients aged 30-40 were reporting cases of heart attacks arising out of the blockages in coronary arteries.
According to medical industry experts, more than 300,000 stents are implanted every year in India.
These include the traditionally used metallic stents and drug eluting stents.
However, usage of the latest and the most technologically advanced fourth generation Abbott ABVS stents that disappear over a period of time in a patient`s body leaving no metal inside is a recent phenomenon.
It is believed that the risk of getting a heart attack increases if the individual has any family history of heart problems, hypertension, obesity and diabetes. Modern day sedentary lifestyle, coupled with unhealthy eating habits, stress and smoking, is also responsible for a surge in the instances of cardiovascular diseases among the Indian population.