First Biodegradable Metal Stent in a Child with Congenital Heart Disease: Evaluation of Macro and Histopathology

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New developments in stent technology led to the first biodegradable magnesium stents. To overcome the fundamental restrictions of conventional stent implantation, these new stents may improve interventional therapy, also in small children. What remains after complete degradation of a magnesium stent is of particular interest and concern. At the autopsy, 2 months after the projected complete degradation time of the 3.0 × 10 mm2 stent, no solid compounds were detected, and the vessel diameter had increased slightly to 3.7 mm. Histological preparation revealed an amorphous to jelly-like substitute of the magnesium struts mainly consisting of calcium phosphate covered by fibrotic tissue. Immunological staining revealed no relevant inflammatory reaction to the stent material. Neointima proliferation was detected around the struts with some cellular infiltration of the calcium-phosphate material. These pathological and histological findings show minimal alteration of the vessel wall and an increase of the arterial diameter after stent degradation. This is an important precondition for further use of biodegradable stents in small infants. Further observations have to prove whether these findings do reproduce in other settings also.

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