Williamson Medical Center among first to implant new platinum stent

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A local heart patient at Williamson Medical Center in Franklin is now one of the first individuals in Tennessee to receive a new type of coronary stent recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Thomas Richardson, M.D., cardiologist with Vanderbilt Heart at Williamson Medical Center, was the first physician to insert the new stent, which is used to prop open clogged arteries allowing blood to flow freely to the heart. This next generation stent technology aims to help cardiac patients reduce the amount of time they have to remain on blood thinning medication.

The Synergy Everolimus-Eluting Platinum Chromium Coronary Stent from Boston Scientific is a new development in stents designed for faster healing in patients by including a polymer that dissolves in the body. Polymer exposure has been associated with complications such as vessel re-narrowing and blood clots, according to a news release. Designed for faster healing, the Synergy Stent offers medicine, which inhibits coronary blockages from recurring, and freedom from permanent polymer exposure.

Within three months, according to Richardson, the polymer and the drug on the stent should no longer be detectable in the patient’s body.

“The surface of the Synergy stent that faces the arterial walls is coated with a drug called Everolimus, which is embedded in a bio-absorbable polymer. Everolimus helps reduce the chance of the artery becoming blocked again,” Richardson said. “The positioning of the drugs on the stent helps speed up the healing process. In the past, the polymers used in stents created concerns about long-term exposure and the potential for inflammation, which delays healing.”

Williamson Medical Center has been placing stents in its Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory for roughly 10 years, according to Richard Westgate, R.N., director of the Emergency Department, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory and Radiology Nursing at WMC.

Last year alone, 249 stents were placed at Williamson Medical Center, and 215 were placed the year before. Westgate said he expects they will do more this year.

“The ability to provide the Synergy Stent, the first and only bio-absorbable polymer drug-eluding stent in the U.S., reinforces our commitment to deliver advanced, quality treatment and care to our patients,” he said. “Williamson Medical Center patients who are eligible to receive this stent will have a reduction in potential long-term vessel re-narrowing.”

Because stents are designed to be very patient-specific, they all vary in width and length. But Westgate said the Synergy stents are very small.

They are also no more expensive than other stents, and are covered by most insurance plans, he added.

“A good candidate for these new stents is really up to the cardiologist,” Westgate said. “It’s all very patient-specific. If the cardiologist sees that a patient will benefit from this particular stent, that’s what they will use.”

“We are pleased to be working closely with Dr. Richardson and Williamson Medical Center to ensure patients can access this innovative technology,” said Kevin Ballinger, President, Interventional Cardiology, Boston Scientific.

“In development for over 10 years, the Synergy Stent reflects our commitment to bringing meaningful change to interventional cardiologists with the most complete portfolio of clinical solutions to best treat their patients,” Ballinger said. “We are excited to bring this transformative technology to U.S. facilities that provide best-in-class patient care.”

The Synergy Stent is being studied in more than 15,000 patients worldwide.

Quint Qualls covers Spring Hill for Home Page Media Group. Reach him at quint@springhillhomepage.com.

 

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