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Sanford Health Begins Clinical Trial to Test Dissolving Device for Heart Patients

Sanford Heart Cardiologist Tom Stys(Sioux Falls, SD) – Sanford Heart Hospital has started a clinical trial to study a dissolving device in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). The ABSORB III clinical trial will investigate the safety and effectiveness of the AbsorbTM Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold (BVS) device, manufactured by global health care company Abbott. Absorb™ is a small mesh tube designed to open a blocked heart vessel, restore blood flow and then dissolve into the blood vessel over time.


ABSORB III is the first U.S. clinical trial to evaluate the potential benefits of Absorb™ in comparison to a medicated metallic heart stent, also called a drug eluting stent, in patients with CAD, the most common form of heart disease. Sanford is one of a select group of hospitals in the region and in the country to enroll patients in this trial, which could potentially lead to new treatment options for heart patients.

“We proudly offer the latest in technology and treatment options to the people of this region, and this includes unique technologies made available through clinical research,” said Tom Stys, MD, medical director of cardiovascular services at Sanford Heart Hospital. “Through research, we hope to find new ways to diagnose, prevent, treat or even cure disease.”

CAD is a leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Patients with CAD can experience symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath when the demand for blood to the heart is more than the heart's ability to supply due to blockages in the vessels. These blockages are caused from a build-up of fat and cholesterol inside the vessel. Stent Web

Since the 1970s, physicians have treated patients with CAD with balloon angioplasty, metallic and drug eluting metallic stents, allowing many patients to avoid open-heart surgery. Approximately a decade ago, scientists at Abbott started development of Absorb™. Unlike a metallic stent that remains permanently in the body, Absorb is made of polylactide, a naturally dissolvable material commonly used in medical implants such as dissolving sutures.


The ABSORB III clinical trial will enroll approximately 2,250 patients, the majority in the United States. Patients can call (605) 312-2200 to learn more about the clinical trial.

About Sanford Health

Sanford Health is an integrated health system headquartered in the Dakotas and is now the largest, rural, not-for-profit health care system in the nation with locations in 126 communities in nine states. In addition, Sanford Health is in the process of developing international clinics in Ghana, Israel, Mexico and China.

Sanford Health includes 39 hospitals, 140 clinic locations and 1,360 physicians in 81 specialty areas of medicine. With more than 26,000 employees, Sanford Health is the largest employer in North and South Dakota. The system is experiencing dynamic growth and development in conjunction with nearly a billion dollars in gifts from philanthropist Denny Sanford. These gifts are making possible the implementation of several initiatives including global children's clinics, multiple research centers and finding cures for type 1 diabetes and breast cancer. For more information, please visit

Shawn Neisteadt
Sanford Media Strategist – Sioux Falls Region
(605) 366-2432 /