Absorb Stent for cardiac patients breaking new medical ground in the Valley

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Revolutionary new stent breaking ground and saving lives. (KFSN)

The last time Giacomo Ciabattini walked into Saint Agnes Medical Center in Northeast Fresno, he was in a much bigger hurry. He was having a major cardiac episode on Thanksgiving morning, but didn't know it at the time.

"I would have never thought about having a heart attack."

In fact, the avid runner and Fresno chef who has developed dishes at some of the most popular local restaurants, at first dismissed the symptoms as food-related.

"A lot of pressure, tingling in my hands, a little bit of cold sweats. At first, I thought it was indigestion," said Ciabattini.

The staff at Saint Agnes immediately recognized the signs of a heart attack and rushed him into the cath lab for a stent procedure unlike any other.

Cardiologist Dr. Alfred Valles said after the emergency procedure for Ciabattini's heart attack, another completely blocked artery was discovered, and doctors put in a revolutionary stent called Absorb-- that eventually dissolves.

The stent is placed in the diseased artery, typically the size of a spaghetti noodle, propping the vessel open and restoring blood flow. The stent releases a drug to reduce scarring and prevent the vessel from re-narrowing. Most stents are made of metal, but the Absorb stent is made of a naturally dissolving material called polylactide, similar to dissolving stitches. As the vessel heals, the Absorb stent metabolizes to water and carbon dioxide.

After three years, the Absorb stent is completely absorbed and the vessel can remain open without a traditional, metal stent.

"That allows the artery to maintain its normal motion. These arteries are not dead pipes, they're alive and they move and flex as the heart does, so if you had a metal stent you would limit that ability," said Dr. Valles.

Dr. Valles said the Absorb stent is just the beginning of future advancements in cardiology, increasing the benefits for patients and their quality of life.

Ciabattini said he is living proof of that advancing technology. To stay heart healthy, doctors told him to make some changes to his own menu-- not an easy order for a chef.

"I had to change my diet, I had to change-- which is not very easy in my industry because I have to eat and try all different kinds of foods."

Ciabattini is a heart attack survivor with a new hunger for life.

"Three months later, I feel great."

Related Topics:
healthheart attackfresnohospitalFresno
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