A team of researchers from Singapore has made a completely biodegradable heart stent aimed at improving patient recovery and reducing infections, the city-state’s Nanyang Technological University said on Friday.
Stents are small tube-like devices surgically implanted into patients to improve blood flow in the blood vessels.
Currently permanently inserted metal stents are used that can cause blood clots and re-blockage of blood vessels. Patients need to take several drugs to prevent these problems.
NTU researchers said in a statement the new stent can carry multiple layers of drugs that can be released into a patient’s body at various rates over a sustained period of time from days to several months.
After that, the stent will completely dissolve in the body as lactic acid.
The product, which took two and a half years to develop, will enable doctors to tailor prescriptions for different patients for optimal treatment, said a spokesperson from NTU.
According to the statement, the stents can be used in coronary arteries, the brain, the lungs, the urinary tract, and any part in the body where fluid flow is disrupted.
Revision date: June 14, 2011
Last revised: by Andrew G. Epstein, M.D.