Abbott’s Absorb “Dissolving Stent”
There’s a lesson for the Absorb BVS in the history of interventional cardiology (an area of particular interest in this 40th anniversary of angioplasty year). There’s no question that the concept of a stent that dissolves and disappears is intriguing, and potentially clinically significant. Stents were invented because after balloon-only dilatation, the artery would sometimes collapse, or the spongy plaque would not compress neatly against the arterial wall, or the plaque would regrow, resulting in a very high rate of restenosis (reblocking of the artery).
Stents prevented all of this. Stents reduced the 3-5% acute closure rate that sent patients to bypass surgery after balloon angioplasty almost to zero. Continue reading
Last night news began circulating on Twitter that Abbott’s Absorb BVS (Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold) was being withdrawn from the European market. This information was prompted by several physicians posting on Twitter a March 31 “Urgent Field Safety Notice/Physician Advisory” letter from Abbott addressed to “Valued Abbott Vascular Customer.”
A number of news sources, including this one, posted articles and tweets to the effect that the Absorb was being taken off the commercial markets and, as the letter stated, “Effective May 31, 2017, the device will only be available in clinical register setting at select sites/institutions that will play a pivotal role in the monitoring of this technology until Summer 2018 at which time the situation will be reviewed.”
This morning Abbott reacted to this initial flurry of reports that they had “pulled the Absorb” with some clarification: specifically that the Absorb is NOT being pulled from the market and still retains the CE Mark. An Abbott spokesperson told Angioplasty.Org, “Absorb will continue to be commercially available in Europe through the registries.”
But the relationship, as they say on Facebook, is complicated.
Washington Convention Center
Over the next three days, a voluminous amount of data will be presented, shared, and debated among an estimated 18,000 attendees of the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology, this year held in Washington, DC.
While the meeting covers the whole spectrum of cardiology and heart-related issues, there are a number of studies and late breaking clinical trials specific to the subspecialty of interventional cardiology. Continue reading
Angioplasty balloon being manufactured on the kitchen table in Gruentzig’s apartment
Today marks the 39th anniversary of the first percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) which was performed in 1977 by Dr. Andreas R. Gruentzig in Zurich, Switzerland. This angioplasty procedure utilized an expandable balloon, fashioned on a kitchen table in Gruentzig’s apartment by Gruentzig’s assistant, Maria Schlumpf (note the bottle of wine…and yes, she used Krazy Glue). So, as I always ruefully think about on my own birthday, one is actually celebrating the completion of that numeric year, and sometime later today, coronary angioplasty will be entering its 40th year. Kind of amazing. Continue reading
On September 22-23, 2016, the 5th Advanced International Masterclass on the Transradial Approach will be held in Budapest, Hungary. And this year, AimRADIAL will be preceded on September 21 by a one-day comprehensive workshop covering all aspects of Fractional Flow Reserve (FFR) from the basic principles and set-up in the cath lab, to the differences between FFR, iFR, and CFR, a comprehensive review of the clinical study data so far, and finally a look at future modalities, like FFR-CT (although the title of that talk by Dr. Nick Curzen is “FFR-CT: the future is now“). Continue reading
Transradial is one of the big buzzwords in interventional cardiology these days. In the United States practitioners recently have been discovering its advantages and have been learning how to perform it successfully. Utilization of transradial in the U.S. has jumped from 2% to almost 25% in less than a decade. In Europe, Japan, India, and China, transradial has been used for years and in most of those regions adoption runs from 50-90% of all catheter-based procedures. In Japan, and now in Europe, a specialized group of physicians has been pushing the limit of what can be done via the wrist artery, using “slender” procedures and equipment, with systems using 3, 4 and 5F sized catheters.
But the heart (pun intended) of this revolution in catheter-based access goes back over two decades to the pioneering work done by Dr. Ferdinand Kiemeneij, rightly dubbed “the father of transradial intervention.” You can read my interview with Dr. Kiemeneij here, but more importantly, you can and should and must read his brand-new hot-off-the-press book, “Transradial Coronary Interzentions,” available on Amazon. Continue reading