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2013 Press Releases
Morton Plant Hospital Joins Clinical Research Trial for Patients with Coronary Artery Disease
CLEARWATER, Fla., (Oct. 3, 2013) - Morton Plant Hospital recently enrolled a patient in a clinical research trial for AbsorbTM, a small mesh tube that is designed to open a clogged heart vessel, restore blood flow to the heart, and then dissolve into the blood vessel over time. The clinical research trial is called ABSORB III, which is enrolling patients in the United States.

Absorb, manufactured by the global health care company, Abbott, is an investigational bioresorbable vascular scaffold (BVS) that is the focus of ABSORB III, 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 coronary artery disease, a form of heart disease.

Morton Plant Hospital is among the few hospitals in the Tampa Bay area to be selected to participate in the ABSORB III trial, which is a double-blind research study which means neither the patient nor the doctor know if the research scaffold will be used.

“Normally, we have relied on metallic and drug eluting stents, to keep blocked arteries clear, which allowed many patients to avoid open heart surgery, but required patients to have a permanent metallic implant” said Patrick Cambier, MD, a Morton Plant Mease interventional cardiologist and Co-Principal Investigator. “The hope of this research is that the Absorb device will allow us to use a similar procedure, but implant a device that will eventually dissolve after it has opened the artery and restored blood flow to the heart.”

Unlike a metallic stent that remains permanently in the body, Absorb is referred to as a scaffold to indicate that it is a temporary structure. The Absorb BVS is made of a naturally dissolvable material that is commonly used in medical implants such as dissolving sutures.

“Research indicates that the support provided to the coronary artery by a metal stent may only be necessary for a few months after the stent is implanted,” said Bernardo Stein, MD, Morton Plant Mease interventional cardiologist and Co-Principal Investigator. “In theory, the most significant potential advantage to an absorbable scaffold is that it not only provides the necessary support when needed after restoring blood flow, similar to a metallic stent, but also once the scaffolding is absorbed by the body, motion could return to the artery. Once the scaffold is implanted, it releases a medication intended to prevent restenosis (narrowing of the artery).”

The procedure is similar to angioplasty or stent placement. Absorb is placed into the artery on a balloon at the end of a thin, flexible tube. Absorb is expanded by inflating the balloon, pushing the plaque against the artery wall to enable greater blood flow. The balloon is removed, leaving Absorb to slowly release medication to the diseased area. With blood flow restored, Absorb begins dissolving.

Coronary artery disease (CAD), a narrowing of one or more arteries that supply blood to the heart, 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 blood due to blockages in the vessels that supply blood to the heart. These blockages are caused by the buildup of fat and cholesterol inside the vessel.

About Morton Plant Hospital
Established in 1916, Morton Plant Hospital is a 687-bed facility. Our commitment to improving the health of everyone we serve is reflected in our community partnerships and many honors. Morton Plant is the only hospital in the United States to have been awarded Top 100 Hospital designations by the Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals: National Benchmarks for Success for a consecutive 13 years. Other hospital honors include: Magnet Designation for the second time by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the most prestigious national recognition of excellence in nursing care, “Baby-Friendly” hospital status from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for its efforts to support mothers’ decision to breast feed and received Florida Hospitals Association’s Innovation of the Year in Patient Care award. Morton Plant Hospital is located at 300 Pinellas Street, Clearwater, Fla.

About BayCare Health System
BayCare Health System is a leading community-based health system in the Tampa Bay area. Composed of a network of 11 not-for-profit hospitals, outpatient facilities and services such as imaging, lab, behavioral health and home health care, BayCare provides expert medical care throughout a patient’s lifetime. With more than 200 access points conveniently located throughout Tampa Bay, BayCare connects patients to a complete range of preventive, diagnostic and treatment services for any health care need.

BayCare’s family of hospitals are: Mease Countryside, Mease Dunedin, Morton Plant, Morton Plant North Bay, St. Anthony’s, St. Joseph’s, St. Joseph’s Children’s, St. Joseph’s Hospital-North, St. Joseph’s Women’s, South Florida Baptist, and Winter Haven. For more information, visit BayCare on the Web at


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