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Last night news began circulating on Twitter that Abbott’s Absorb BVS (Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold) was being withdrawn from the European market.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.