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Sharp Cardiologists Test Dissolvable Heart Stent

— Cardiologists at Sharp Memorial Hospital are involved in a clinical trial of a new treatment for heart disease.

Aired 7/9/13 on KPBS News.

A clinical trial is underway at Sharp Memorial Hospital testing how well a dissolvable heart stent works compared to a conventional metal device.

Doctors are testing out a stent that dissolves in the body.

Stents are small metallic tubes that doctors use to restore blood flow in a blocked artery.

The clinical trial at Sharp Memorial is evaluating whether a dissolvable stent made out of mesh provides better outcomes over time.

Sharp cardiologist Raghava Gollapudi, one of the trial's investigators, said there are some concerns about metallic stents.

"Since it's a foreign body that's left over inside the artery, we're always worried 'Will a blood clot form on this foreign body three, four, five years later if we don't keep them on blood thinners?'" Dr. Gollapudi said.

About 600,000 patients get a heart stent put in each year in the United States. Studies suggest not all of the procedures are necessary.

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