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Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold now available in New Zealand

World’s first Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold now available to New Zealanders

New Zealand played key role in the development of Absorb™ - an innovative,

new device for the treatment of coronary artery disease

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, 17 October 2012 – Absorb, the world’s first drug eluting bioresorbable vascular scaffold for the treatment of coronary artery disease is now widely available in New Zealand. Abbott’s Absorb is an innovative device that is designed to open a blocked heart vessel, restore blood flow to the heart and then, unlike permanent metallic stents, dissolve into the body. This leaves patients with a vessel free of a metallic stent, which can result in long-term benefits.

New Zealand played a key role in the development of this innovative new treatment. The first person in the world to be treated with Absorb as part of a clinical trial in 2006 was John Lamb from Tauranga, New Zealand.

“Unlike metallic stents, Absorb dissolves away after doing its job,” said John Ormiston, M.D., Medical Director at Mercy Angiography in Auckland and Principal Investigator in one of the pivotal Absorb trials. “This is a significant advancement in the treatment of coronary artery disease, as the treated vessel has the potential to return to a more natural state. It may be free to move, flex and dilate similar to a natural vessel in response to normal activity, such as exercise. This makes Absorb a true innovation for patients.”

Absorb is made of polylactide, a proven, biocompatible material that is used in medical implants such as dissolvable sutures. The device is designed to slowly metabolise and eventually break down into elements that occur naturally in the body.

The long-term benefits of a therapy like Absorb are significant. “In addition to the potential to restore natural vessel function in a way not possible with permanent implants, a temporary scaffold could allow more complete healing of the vessel, potentially reducing the need for long-term anti-clotting medications.” said Dougal McClean, M.D., Interventional Cardiologist and Director of Interventional Research at Christchurch Hospital.


The Absorb technology further increases future treatment and diagnostic options, especially in younger patients, but also potentially in people with early disease who are at high risk.

On average, one New Zealander dies of coronary artery disease every 90 minutes and one in twenty adults have been diagnosed with the disease.1 Coronary artery disease is a condition in which the arteries that supply blood to the heart become narrowed or blocked by a build-up of plaque. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol or other fatty deposits that accumulate on the inner wall of the artery.

“The knowledge that with Absorb you don’t have a permanent metallic stent left in your body once the device has done its job really appeals to me,” said John Lamb, patient from Tauranga who received Absorb in 2006.

About the Absorb Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold

The Absorb bioresorbable vascular scaffold, made by global health care company Abbott, is the first drug eluting device of its kind for the treatment of coronary artery disease. Absorb is designed to open a blocked vessel and to restore blood flow to the heart. The scaffold, similar to a mesh tube, provides support until the artery can stay open on its own and then dissolves. Because a permanent metallic stent is not left behind, naturally occurring vessel functions may be restored, which is one of the features that makes this device a significant innovation for patients in the treatment of coronary artery disease.

Abbott's Absorb delivers everolimus, an anti-proliferative drug used in Abbott's XIENCE coronary stent systems. Everolimus was developed by Novartis Pharma AG and is licensed to Abbott by Novartis for use on its drug eluting vascular devices. Everolimus has been shown to inhibit in-stent neointimal growth in the coronary vessels following stent implantation, due to its anti-proliferative properties.

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