19 Jul 2009

Second phase of trials for dissolving stent

4:57 pm on 19 July 2009

The second phase of clinical trials testing a dissolving stent for patients with heart problems has begun in Christchurch.

The procedure involves implanting a bio-absorbable stent into a patient's artery, which opens it up, allowing the blood to flow back into the muscle.

Dr Dougal McClean from Christchurch Hospital performed New Zealand's first trials in this phase.

He says the new stent is meant to dissolve within two years once the glands are healed, unlike metal stents which remain in the body.

Dr McClean says the new stent may help patients in the long term by preventing any further narrowing of the arteries.

George Lanyon, 70, was the first patient in the second round of clinical trials to have a bio-absorbable stent implanted into his artery.

Mr Lanyon says while he could have had a metal stent implanted instead, he was very keen to be a guinea pig for the new device.

He says if this type of stent can save people from having to get heart by-passes it would be terrific.

Mr Lanyon says before he had the operation he couldn't walk more than 100 metres, but now he can walk anywhere.

New Zealand is one of eight countries participating in the trial, which started in 2006.