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UPMC Hamot Initiates Trial for Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold for Treating Heart Disease

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ERIE, Aug. 1 – UPMC Hamot is the first provider in northwest Pennsylvania to enroll patients in the ABSORB III trial. Absorb™, manufactured by the health care company Abbott, is an investigational bioresorbable vascular scaffold (BVS) designed to open a blocked heart vessel, restore blood flow to the heart, and then dissolve into the blood vessel over time.

ABSORB III is the first U.S. clinical trial to evaluate the potential benefits of Absorb by comparing it to a traditional medicated metallic heart stent, also called a drug eluting stent, in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD is a leading cause of death for men and women in the United States.

Since the 1970s, physicians have treated patients with CAD with balloon angioplasty and metallic and drug eluting metallic stents, allowing many patients to avoid open heart surgery. To distinguish it from a metallic stent that remains permanently in the body, Absorb is referred to as “a scaffold,” to indicate that it is a temporary structure. Abbott's Absorb BVS is made of polylactide, a naturally dissolvable material that is commonly used in medical implants such as dissolving sutures.

“UPMC Hamot’s heart team will add BVS treatments to its long list of pioneering technologies brought to northwest Pennsylvania,” said Richard Petrella, MD, UPMC Hamot chief of cardiology, regional medical director, and primary site investigator for the trial. “The high-quality outcomes and sophisticated cardiac emergency room and regional stemi programs have helped to establish UPMC Hamot as the dominant leader in heart care for the tri-state region and have led to Hamot’s participation in this trial.”

UPMC Hamot also has introduced to the region, coronary bypass and valve surgery, precautions valve implants, endovascular aneurysm repair, carotid and vascular stenting, coronary angioplasty, atherectomy and stenting, complex heart rhythm treatments, and advanced diagnostics.

The ABSORB III clinical trial will enroll approximately 2,250 patients. The primary endpoint of the trial is target lesion failure, a combined measure of safety and efficacy, at one year. In addition, a subset of patients within the trial will be evaluated for novel endpoints such as vasomotion, a measure of how much natural motion returns to the vessel as Absorb dissolves into the arterial tissue.