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Lexington Medical Center Begins Offering Dissolvable Heart Stents

Lexington Medical Center has become the first hospital in the Midlands to offer patients with coronary artery disease a first-of-its-kind fully dissolving heart stent. Called the most significant advancement in cardiology since stenting began decades ago, these new stents repair clogged arteries until they heal and then gradually dissolve into the body. Lexington Medical Center implanted its first dissolvable stent in a patient on Monday, September 26, 2016.


“We are pleased to be able to offer the next generation of stent technology to our patients at Lexington Medical Center,” said Robert Malanuk, MD, FACC, cardiologist with Lexington Cardiology, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice. “Composed of naturally dissolving material, these stents will dissolve fully in three years. They offer clear advantages for many heart patients.”

While heart stents are traditionally metal, this new type of stent is made of naturally dissolving material, similar to dissolving sutures. Described as a vascular scaffolding system, it fully restores the artery and dissolves completely, after it has done its job of keeping a clogged artery open and promoting healing of the treated artery segment. Studies show arteries remain open and healthy for long periods of time after the stents dissolve. By contrast, metal stents are permanent implants.

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Similar to a cast on a broken bone, a clogged artery that’s been cleared only needs support for several months until it can heal and can stay open on its own. After that, a metal stent serves no additional purpose. In fact, a metal stent can hinder future cardiac interventions.

Lexington Medical Center’s cardiologists have received special training to implant these devices.

The hospital is using the Absorb GTI™ bioresorbable vascular scaffold system made by Abbott. The world’s first FDA-approved dissolving heart stent, it’s currently available in approximately 50 hospitals in the United States, including Lexington Medical Center.

Patients must meet specific criteria to be eligible for a dissolvable stent. Factors include anatomy, the makeup of the lesion, size of the artery and degree of calcification.

Coronary artery disease affects 15 million people in the United States and remains a leading cause of death around the world. It occurs when fat, cholesterol and other things in the blood build up in arteries, causing the heart to not get enough blood and oxygen.

There are three stent options for blocked arteries. The first is bare metal stents, developed in the 1980’s. The second is drug-eluting stents, developed in the early 2000’s, which are coated with medicine that helps to prevent the artery from narrowing again. The third option is now dissolvable stents; like drug-eluting stents, dissolvable stents also have medicine to halt the growth of plaque in the artery.

Lexington Medical Center is committed to offering comprehensive cardiovascular care. Heart disease is an epidemic in South Carolina. One out of every three people in our state dies from cardiovascular disease. In fact, more people die from heart disease than all forms of cancer combined. For more information on cardiovascular care at Lexington Medical Center, visit

“Holes in the Heart”

Join Lexington Medical Center cardiologist Robert A. Leonardi, MD, FACC in Sumter on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 for a free presentation called “Holes in the Heart.” The event is part of Lexington Medical Center’s quarterly patient education series in Sumter, featuring medical topics that are important to our community.

Dr. Robert Leonardi

Dr. Robert Leonardi

“Holes in the Heart” will take place on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. inside Sumter Cardiology at 540 Physicians Lane in Sumter.

Lexington Medical Center’s full range of cardiac services includes non-surgical closure for “holes in the heart” known as atrial septal defects (ASDs) and patent foramen ovale (PFO).

Courtesy: American Heart Association

Courtesy: American Heart Association

ASD and PFO are congenital heart defects, meaning that people are born with them. Many patients are unaware of these “holes in the heart,” which can cause heart failure and have been associated with increased risk of stroke. Dr. Leonardi will discuss the problems these holes can cause, how they are diagnosed, and available treatments.

Affiliated with Duke Medicine, Lexington Medical Center offers comprehensive cardiovascular care with state-of-the-art technology. That includes open heart surgery, catheterizations, angioplasty, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) to replace the aortic valve with a catheter instead of open heart surgery, and an electrophysiology program that diagnoses and treats abnormal heart rhythms known as cardiac arrhythmias.

Lexington Medical Center has full chest pain accreditation with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC), demonstrating its ability to quickly assess, diagnose and treat heart attack patients. And, the hospital is a Primary Stroke Center, excelling at treating stroke patients promptly.

Dr. Leonardi is a physician with Lexington Cardiology, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice.

At the patient education presentation, light refreshments will be served. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions. For more information, visit

Cardiac Rehabilitation Boosts Heart Health in Irmo

WIS-TV visited our new cardiac rehabilitation facility conveniently located in Irmo. The 2,500 square foot facility located inside the Irmo Medical Park at 7033 St. Andrews Rd. is the first cardiac rehabilitation facility in the Irmo area.

Cardiac Rehabilitation is a medically supervised program designed to optimize a cardiac patient’s physical, psychological and social functioning, in addition to stabilizing, slowing or even reversing the progression of cardiovascular disease.

People who benefit from cardiac rehabilitation include patients with a history of heart attack, angioplasty or stenting, heart valve surgery, heart transplant, angina, heart failure or heart bypass surgery.

Statistics show that people who participate in cardiac rehabilitation are up to 46% less likely to die of a cardiac event than those who do not take part.

WIS-TV interviewed one of our patients there, who suffered a heart attack in January, along with cardiac rehabilitation supervisor Mark Stout.

Lexington Medical Center has offered cardiac rehabilitation at its main hospital in West Columbia for more than 20 years and at the hospital’s community medical center in Lexington since 2002.

Along with closely monitored exercise training, there are education classes addressing topics such as heart disease risk factors, healthy nutrition, weight management, controlling blood pressure and cholesterol, managing diabetes, and understanding stress and your emotions.

Cardiac rehabilitation provides better outcomes and better quality of life.

For more information about Cardiac Rehabilitation at Lexington Medical Center, visit