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Dissolving the stress of heart disease

Jay Desmarais is thankful for the Absorb stent and the care he received at St. Cloud Hospital.Garbage truck driver Jay Desmarais, age 62, of Rockville, takes the good with the bad. “I love working outdoors, except,” he grinned, “when it’s snowing and 20 below — but it’s all part of life.”

This philosophy carries through to his annual work physical. This year’s stress test found a blocked artery to his heart, leading him to become a candidate for a new type of stent called Absorb.

Stents are small, expandable tubes inserted into a narrowed or blocked section of the coronary artery during angioplasty. Like traditional metal stents, the Absorb stent props open a diseased vessel and restores blood flow, allowing the vessel to heal. But, like dissolving stitches, Absorb disappears — completely and naturally — usually within three years. By contrast, metal stents are permanent implants.

On Oct. 17, Cardiologist Thom Dahle, MD, along with a multidisciplinary team, inserted an Absorb stent into Jay’s left anterior descending artery. “The CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center constantly strives to offer cutting edge technology, especially pioneering methods, such as Absorb, that can lead to new directions in patient care,” Dr. Dahle said.

For Jay, the effect of the stent was immediate, eliminating his shortness of breath. Jay recommends everyone be proactive about their health. “Watch what you eat, exercise and get regular check-ups. It pays off in the end.”

About Absorb

The Food and Drug Administration approved Absorb in July. The CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center was the first site in Minnesota to offer the device when it became commercially available.

Dissolving stents have several benefits. They allow vessels to expand and contract, as needed, to increase blood flow to the heart in response to normal activities, such as exercising. They also offer flexibility for future treatment options and may reduce the need for long-term anti-clotting medications.

Call CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center at 320-656-7020 for more information.

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