Great River Health Systems first in Iowa to use new stent

Great River Medical Center is the first hospital in Iowa to use a new stent for treating coronary artery disease. The Food and Drug Administration approved the new everolimus-eluting platinum chromium coronary stent in early October after more than 10 years of research.

Stents are tiny metal mesh tubes that hold open clogged arteries, allowing blood to flow freely to the heart. Drug-eluting or “medicated” stents are covered with a drug that prevents tissue from growing over and narrowing the stents after placement. The drug is attached to the stent by a polymer.

The new stent, unlike the older generation of medicated stents, is coated with a polymer that is absorbed by the body in three months. This absorbability decreases the risk of stent clotting after placement.

“Bringing new medical technologies to southeast Iowa directly supports Great River Health’ mission to provide outstanding patient care,” said interventional cardiologist Abdullah Alwahdani, M.D., medical director, Cardiology.

To place a stent, an interventional cardiologist inserts a narrow tube called a catheter into an artery in a patient’s groin or arm using a special X-ray machine to guide it to the narrowed section. The physician inserts the stent through the catheter and expands it by inflating a balloon.

Great River Health has three interventional cardiologists. Dr. Alwahdani, Walid Saad, M.D., and Richard To., M.D., who see patients at Great River Cardiology in Eastman Plaza, and they perform procedures in Great River Heart and Vascular Center in the hospital.