KINGSPORT – Cardiac patients at Holston Valley Medical Center are among the first in the nation to have access to a new drug-eluting stent system used to treat heart disease.

Holston Valley is the only Tennessee hospital and one of just four hospitals in the country participating in the ARRIVE registry program, which makes a new, paclitaxel-eluting stent system available to cardiac patients. Drug-eluting stents are wire mesh tubes used to prop open previously blocked arteries that have been cleared using angioplasty.

The paclitaxel-eluting stents improve on earlier stents by slowly emitting paclitaxel – a chemotherapy agent – to prevent an overgrowth of cells in arteries as they heal. The growth of too many cells in an artery can cause blockage to recur.

“This stent is a technological marvel,” said Renato Santos, MD, of Cardiovascular Associates. “Outwardly, it looks like every other stent. But the technology that has developed to enable us to deliver an adequate amount of drug to prevent the blockage of the artery is nothing short of amazing.

“This stent will allow us to treat more difficult lesions with better long-term results for patients. We are happy to be the first in the area to offer this to our patients.”

Drug-eluting stents were first approved for use in the United States last year. The procedure to implant drug-eluted stents is identical to procedures involving regular stents. Stents are used in 70 to 90 percent of all heart procedures nationwide.

The new paclitaxel-eluting stents are expected to receive Food and Drug Administration approval by the end of March. As one of a handful of hospitals selected to participate in the ARRIVE registry program, Wellmont Holston Valley is able to make the stents available to patients now.

Patients who receive the stents will be monitored for two years as part of the registry. In total, 50 hospitals around the nation are expected to participate in the registry, eventually enrolling 2,000 patients.

Cardiologists at Holston Valley used the new stents for the first time Friday.

“This new drug-eluting stent will greatly expand the number of patients eligible to receive this new technology,” said Brian Armstrong, MD, principal investigator for the ARRIVE registry at Cardiovascular Associates and Wellmont Holston Valley. “Its ease of delivery, flexibility and wide range of sizes will allow almost any coronary arterial blockage to be treated with local drug delivery, significantly reducing the need for repeat procedures.

“We will also be able to attempt cases we might not have been able to do before we had access to this new device.”


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