It's a medical device that's been around for 30 years but recently got an upgrade.
WZZM 13 health reporter Valerie Lego tells us about a new dissolvable stent used for heart patients being used here in West Michigan and now is available at Mercy Health Saint Mary's in Grand Rapids.
The new stent dissolves over time until it is completely gone after 3-5 years. Absorb, the name of the stent, opens clogged arteries to restore blood flow just like other stents but then because it gradually dissolves in the body, it reduces the risk of future blockages that can occur with metal stents and actually promotes the healing of the artery.
Metal stents are permanent implants and sometimes the body tries to heal itself knowing that there is a foreign object where there shouldn't be anything -- scar tissue can build up over time causing problems.
About 5 million people in the U.S. have coronary artery disease. This could be a good option, especially for younger patients like Stu McLean who is just 33 years old. He was the first to get the dissolvable stent at Mercy Health Saint Mary's back in January.
Since then, they've used the stent on three other heart patients.