New clinical trial at Pinnacle Health tests disappearing stents

Ron Ross is a father and, soon-to-be father-of-the-bride.

His daughter is getting married on July 20. But things were very different in May.

“I started getting this recurring chest pain, and I knew something was different,” said Ross.

A week went by before he visited his doctor. A stress test revealed symptoms and off he went to Pinnacle Health's Harrisburg Hospital.

“It was a blockage” said Ross.

A 95 percent blockage in one of the main arteries, to be exact.

“He was brought urgently to the catheterization lab and we performed a heart catheterization,” said Dr. William Bachinsky, a Pinnacle Health Cardiologist and Ross' doctor.

Ross needed a stent, a device used to keep a blocked artery open.

It just so happened that Pinnacle is taking part in a clinical trial

“We're looking at enrolling about 2,000 patients in the United States. We are one of about two hundred sites in the United States and we anticipate probably in enrolling about 20 patients,” said Bachinsky.

Ross is one of them.

The Absorb 3 Clinical Trial is a blinded trial. Some patients get metal stents and some get a new one researchers are testing that is bio-absorbable.

“So what happens is the stent stays intact for about six months it has a drug [coating] on it, so that will help prevent re-narrowing” said Bachinksy, who has seen patients in their 30s and 40s developing blocked arteries and expects that number to get younger over the next few decades due to diabetes and the obesity epidemic.


The bio-absorbable stent completely dissolves over time. However, a metal stent stays put.

“By not having metal there, if a patient should require bypass surgery down the road, the surgeons would have an opportunity to bypass that area,” he said. “Secondly, when the stent goes away the artery can then function more normal.”

Ross does not know if he received the metal or bio-absorbable stent. But he does know, he isn't experiencing any chest pain.

“So it's good. I'm now looking forward to the dancing with my daughter when we have a wedding” said Ross.

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