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Memorial Hospital Initiates Clinical Trial Studying ‘Disappearing’ Heart Device

Trial represents latest milestone one year after hospital joined University of Colorado Health
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (October 9, 2013) — Memorial Hospital is enrolling patients in a clinical trial for a “disappearing” device aimed at finding a new and innovative way to treat a common heart problem: blocked or narrowing arteries resulting from heart disease. Memorial and two of its sister hospitals under University of Colorado Health are among a few select hospitals in Colorado and the country participating in the trial.
“Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States,” said Cardiologist Dr. Ronald Blonder, Medical Director of Cardiac Research at Memorial. “Symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath can occur when the demand for blood to the heart is more than its ability to supply it. Plaque buildup in the arteries can lead to blocked heart vessels and restrict blood flow, increasing the risk for heart attack and stroke.”
The ABSORB III clinical trial involves Absorb™, an investigational bioresorbable vascular scaffold (BVS) manufactured by the healthcare company Abbott. Absorb is a small mesh tube designed to open a blocked heart vessel, restore blood flow to the heart and then dissolve into the blood vessel over time.1 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. The trial is enrolling patients with coronary artery disease, a form of heart disease affecting about 13 million people in the United States.
Since the 1970s, physicians have treated patients with coronary artery disease with balloon angioplasty and metallic stents. About a decade ago, Abbott started development of Absorb, and now it is the first company in the world to begin testing a bioresorbable vascular scaffold in patients in the United States.
The trial is one of numerous developments that have taken place at Memorial in the past year under University of Colorado Health. Other milestones include the hiring of more than 30 physicians, the development of a new multi-million dollar medical record, investments in new technology, and the pursuit of Level 1 Trauma designation. University of Colorado Health, which also includes nationally known University of Colorado Hospital, Poudre Valley Hospital, and Medical Center of the Rockies, is the only health system in Colorado to leverage the strengths of academic and community-based hospitals.
Unlike a metallic stent that remains permanently in the body, Absorb is referred to as a scaffold to indicate it is a temporary structure. Abbott's Absorb BVS is made of polylactide, a naturally dissolvable material that is commonly used in medical implants such as dissolving sutures.
“Participating in this clinical trial is incredibly important for Memorial Hospital and Colorado Springs,” said Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Jonathan Sherman, Memorial’s Principal Investigator for Absorb III. “Traditional metallic stents allow many patients to avoid open heart surgery, but the support structure is not needed long-term. We are making history by participating in this landmark study involving a flexible, dissolvable structure.”
The randomized, controlled ABSORB III clinical trial will enroll approximately 2,250 patients, the majority in the United States, and compare the performance of Absorb to Abbott's XIENCE™ family of drug eluting stents.
Participants in the trial do not know whether they have received an Absorb scaffold or a metallic drug eluting stent. Patients interested in more information about the ABSORB III trial should call Colorado Health Medical Group Cardiology at Memorial Hospital at (719) 444-3736.
Each year, about 785,000 Americans have a first heart attack. Another 470,000 who have already experienced one or more heart attacks will have another. Heart disease accounts for one of every six deaths that take place in the U.S.2

About Memorial Hospital

Memorial Hospital, now part of University of Colorado Health, has been part of the Colorado Springs community since 1904. Memorial has two hospitals, Memorial Hospital Central and Memorial Hospital North, and more than a dozen facilities throughout the Pikes Peak Region. University of Colorado Health is a Front Range health system that delivers the highest quality patient care with the highest quality patient experience. University of Colorado Health combines Memorial Hospital, Poudre Valley Hospital, Medical Center of the Rockies, (formerly Poudre Valley Medical Group), and University of Colorado Hospital into an organization dedicated to building a healthier community and providing unmatched patient care in the Rocky Mountain West. Separately, these institutions can continue providing superior care to patients and service to the communities they serve. Together, they push the boundaries of medicine, attracting more research funding, hosting more clinical trials and improving health through innovation.