Australia tries device for heart victims

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Professor Peter Barlis: experiments with stent to help heart victims

A new dissolving stent that has the potential to save lives has been used for the first time in Victoria, Australia.

A stent is a medical device used in heart attack victims that holds open arteries that have become clogged or damaged, allowing blood to flow to and from the heart.

Developed in Switzerland, the Magmaris stent will dissolve in 12 to 18 months, compared to the traditional stent which would remain in the artery forever.

The dissolving stent

By dissolving, the magnesium stent will eliminate the danger of narrowing or blocking an artery that one in every ten metal stents causes.

Peter Barlis, an interventional cardiologist from St Vincent’s Hospital and the University of Melbourne, said that although the risk of complications from a stent was minimal, any advancement was welcome.

“It allows a bit of freedom for us into the future where, if the patient needed to have more stents or surgery, their arteries will be healthy,” Barlis told News Limited on Friday.

“Normally there is no problem … but the risks are that the stents could re-narrow, the stents could break due to the repetitive motion from every heartbeat, and also the more worrying risk of stent thrombosis, which can happen with very little warning where the stent totally blocks off.

“The risk is very low — it’s only 0.6 per cent — but that is for every year you have the stent and the mortality of such complications is 30-40 per cent.”

Douglas Stark, the recipient of the stent, was more than happy to be the first to test the new device after tests revealed strange electrical activity and dangerous palpitations in his heart.

“It went brilliantly, it was absolutely wonderful, I don’t feel any pain in my chest at all,” Stark said.

*Xinhua


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