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Published:  April 9, 2012

St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, Home of Texas Heart® Institute, First in Houston to Use New FDA-Approved Stent for Diabetics with Heart Disease

St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, home of Texas Heart® Institute (THI), is the first hospital in Houston to use a new heart stent that is the first and only one approved by the FDA for treating patients with coronary heart disease (CAD) and diabetes.

Recently, the FDA recently approved the Resolute Integrity Drug-Eluting Stent, which has been shown in a global series of clinical studies to yield consistently strong performance in CAD patients with or without diabetes. Approximately one-third of all patients—an estimated 300,000 in the United States—who receive a stent each year have diabetes.

THI cardiologist Michele Sartori, MD, among physicians at St. Luke’s who have implanted the new stent, said that the Resolute Integrity from Medtronic has been shown in clinical trials to have less incidence of restenosis (re-narrowing of a heart artery) after treatment compared to traditional stents. The stent is coated with a drug, which releases over time into the arterial wall to prevent restenosis and allow for healthy healing.

The strong performance of the Resolute Integrity is due to the slow elution (release) of the drug over a period of 180 days. This protects diabetic patients better since they typically have a chance of restenosis lasting longer than non-diabetic patients, Dr. Sartori added. A stent is a tiny mesh cylinder designed to prop open a narrowed artery. A drug-eluting stent is coated with medication that is designed to prevent the artery from narrowing again; the drug elutes from the stent and into the arterial wall.

“Another important advantage of the Resolute Integrity is its structural design thanks to the advance of continuous sinusoid technology. This unique platform enables the stent to be made from a single wire, rather than multiple rings welded together, making each stent comparable to a flexible spring,” Dr. Sartori said. “This confers the Resolute Integrity with greater deliverability, allowing the new stent to reach very tortuous (crooked) vessels other stents would not be able to reach, which is of crucial importance in diabetic patients who have smaller and more tortuous vessels than non-diabetics.”

Texas City resident Howard Scoggins, 83, is among diabetic patients recently treated at St. Luke’s with Resolute Integrity. Dr. Sartori implanted three of the stents in order to open the coronary arteries in Scoggins whose vessels were extremely tortuous and narrow. Without the new stent, Dr. Sartori said, “Mr. Scoggins’ only treatment option would have been open heart bypass surgery, which is a greater risk, particularly given his age and medical condition.”

Research shows that the nearly 26 million people in the U.S. who have diabetes are at greater risk for developing CAD, and millions of U.S. patients with both diabetes and CAD face a greater rate of heart attacks and strokes than patients without diabetes.

Caused by a build-up of fatty deposits, or plaque, in coronary arteries, CAD is the most common type of heart disease and the leading cause of death in the U.S., killing almost 500,000 Americans each year. Research shows that people with diabetes have a two to three-fold increased risk for CAD and two to four-fold higher CAD morbidity and mortality rates. Historically, treating CAD patients with diabetes has been difficult because they tend to have smaller coronary arteries and persistently elevated blood-sugar levels, which can increase the rate of procedural complications and long-term safety risks.

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