The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) has approved Abbott's Absorb bioresorbable heart stent to treat people with coronary artery disease.
About 1.73 million people in Japan have heart disease and about 71,000 people die each year from coronary artery disease, makin it the second leading causes of death in the country, annually.
Traditionally, stents are made of metal and Abbott’s Absorb has been made from a naturally dissolving material, which is similar to dissolving sutures.
Absorb stent is claimed to dissolve completely in about three years of time, once it completes the job of keeping the clogged artery open, while promoting healing of the treated artery segment. In contrast, metal stents are permanent implants which may cause future blockages.
Abbott vascular senior vice president Deepak Nath said: "We're very excited to bring the promise of Absorb to patients in Japan.
"We believe the Absorb bioresorbable stent can help people live better, healthier lives without the concern of a having a metal implant."
Kyoto University Hospital director of cardiovascular medicine in Japan and the principal investigator of ABSORB JAPAN, a clinical study which led to MHLW’s approval of the device, Prof. Takeshi Kimura said: "Absorb has the potential to address the unsolved challenges of managing coronary artery disease with conventional drug eluting metallic stents.
"Our research, which involved 400 patients at 38 Japanese sites, shows that this fully dissolving stent delivered comparable results to the best-in-class Abbott XIENCE metallic drug-eluting stent on clinically important measures of safety and efficacy."