Hong Kong

World's first biodegradable stent announced

By Michelle Fei (HK Edition)
Updated: 2010-06-30 07:38
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A new treatment for coronary heart disease sufferers developed here in Hong Kong has become available for the first time at local hospitals.

The important advantage of the BioMatrix, drug-eluting stent over similar products available on the market, is that it can be completely dissolved within the human body over a period of six to nine months. That means patients receiving the treatment will be at lower risk of experiencing persistent inflammation, which has proven a problem for patients using the older stents, according to Dr Lee Pui Yin, specialist in Cardiology. The distinction is that the new product uses a polymer that is biodegradable.

In addition, "Patients, especially those who are not suitable for or are low compliant in taking anti-platelet therapy, can choose the new treatment to reduce the risk of stent thrombosis after the procedure," says Dr Wong Bun Lap Bernard, specialist in Cardiology.

"There will be no price difference between the new treatments and the former ones," says Dr Clement PY Lee, specialist in Cardiology. The new treatment costs HK$50,000 per stent.

BioMatrix, which has been called "the world's first abluminal biodegradable polymer drug-eluting stent (DES)," was approved for use by the Hong Kong Authority in December.It is now available at all major public and private Hong Kong hospitals, according to Care For Your Heart, a Cardiac Patients Mutual Support Association.

The new treatment was developed through clinical trials based on clinical data, including LEADERS, a 2-year all-comers prospective randomized trial, according to the support group.

Coronary heart disease (CHD), has been the second leading cause of death in Hong Kong since the 1960's. CHD accounted for 70,300 hospitalizations and 6,777 deaths in the city in 2008. Stent implantation is a common method in the treatment of CHD. Over 5,000 such procedures are performed yearly in Hong Kong, according to studies conducted by The Chinese University of Hong Kong and the city's Department of Health.

Ms Chow, a CHD patient who received her new stent two weeks ago, described her experience. "It (the operation) only took me two hours and I didn't feel painful or anxious at all through the whole procedure. Now my mental state is as good as before. I'm grateful," she said.

Meanwhile, research conducted by Cardiac Patients Mutual Support Association indicates that only one quarter of 616 respondents have heard of stent.

"Hong Kong people have a poor level of awareness of stent implementation and the drug-eluting stent. Public information is urgently needed," says Lee Wing kai, chairman of Cardiac Patients Mutual Support Association.

China Daily

(HK Edition 06/30/2010 page1)