3 The procedure
3.1 Bioresorbable stents are designed to be absorbed by the body over time. The aim is to reduce the risk of late complications such as thrombosis that may occur after the use of metal stents, and to reduce the need for long-term antiplatelet drugs, with their risk of bleeding complications.
3.2 The procedure is usually done under local anaesthesia with fluoroscopic image guidance. The target coronary artery stenosis is dilated, using a percutaneous approach (typically balloon angioplasty over a guide wire via the femoral or radial artery). A bioresorbable stent mounted on a balloon catheter is then passed over the guide wire into the relevant segment of the artery. The stent is expanded by inflation of the balloon within it. The balloon is then deflated and removed with the guide wire. The stent is left in place to act as a scaffold holding the vessel open. Additional imaging, such as intravascular ultrasound and optical coherence tomography, is sometimes used to guide the procedure to optimise positioning and deployment of the stent in the target coronary artery.
3.3 Bioresorbable stents are absorbed over time (for example, over 2 years). Some bioresorbable stents are also drug-eluting, with a view to reducing the risk of restenosis. Dual antiplatelet agents (for example, aspirin and clopidogrel) are usually prescribed for at least 6 months following the procedure.