HICKORY, NC – November 2, 2015 – Catawba Valley Medical Center (CVMC) has become the first hospital
in North Carolina to offer patients a new drug-eluting heart stent that
aims to promote faster healing and reduce the risk of long-term complications.
The first stent was implanted at CVMC Thursday, October 29th at the hospital
in a minimally-invasive procedure performed by interventional cardiologist
James Ritter, MD of Catawba Valley Cardiology.
Coronary heart disease is a narrowing of the vessels that supply blood
and oxygen to the heart. Patients living with coronary heart disease,
also known as coronary artery disease, may experience pain, shortness
of breath and fatigue. Stents are small scaffolding-like tubes designed
to keep a clogged artery open after insertion.
Shown here – the new drug-eluting stent uses an absorbable polymer
that dissolves after the drug is released over time to help prevent the
blockage from returning
“The new drug-eluting stent, approved by the FDA earlier this month,
uses an absorbable polymer that dissolves after the drug is released overtime
to help prevent the blockage from returning,” explains Dr. Ritter.
“In earlier stents, the polymer remained on the mesh stent after
the drug dissolved. The new stent is an improvement because prolonged
exposure to the polymer can cause inflammation and delay healing in the
artery. This will permit earlier interruption of blood thinners (antiplatelet