Tulsa Hospital Using New Dissolvable Heart Stents

Thursday, September 15th 2016, 6:20 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

A breakthrough in heart health is happening at a Tulsa hospital.

Doctors at the Oklahoma Heart Institute are using a dissolvable heart stent on patients to replace those that leave metal behind.

So far, nine patients at the Oklahoma Heart Institute decided to give the new heart stent a try. One of those patients, 61-year-old Chris Kochan said he didn’t realize he had options.

Kochan said he’s never had a heart attack, but recently spoke up to his wife, Shirley, about some discomfort.

"And when I would exert myself I felt a pressure and an ache," he said.

So Kochan saw a doctor and quickly learned he had two blockages in an artery.

"We're done. You're going straight across to the hospital. It's dramatically bad, and I had no idea," he said, remembering the day he was told about the blockage.

The solution was an absorbable stent.

Historically, stents have been made of metal, but Kochan has two of the new stents, which will eventually dissolve inside him.

"I don't feel any different whatsoever,” he said. “I can feel nothing inside, there's no sensation whatsoever."

Dr. Kamran Muhammad with the Oklahoma Heart Institute said, "The idea is that this is a new paradigm. Why leave something behind when you don't need to?"

Muhammad said the stent is made out of polylactic acid, similar to the material used for dissolving stitches.

The Oklahoma Heart Institute is one of 75 trial sites in the country, which helped lead to the FDA's approval of the stent this summer.

"The rest of the story will be told in the years that come, when we have longer-term data, and we may find that these are better than metal stents," Muhammad said.

It'll be a couple years before Kochan's stents disappear, so instead of focusing on his heart problems, his heart can focus on his 4-month-old grandson, Archer.

"New grandchild and everything, so yeah, wanna stick around for him," he said.

Kochan had his procedure done one month ago and he's been golfing regularly ever since.