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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 65-69  

“The unpredictable ABSORB” – very late stent thrombosis of bioresorbable vascular scaffold

Department of Cardiology, King George's Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication31-Jul-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Akshyaya Pradhan
Department of Cardiology, King George's Medical University, Lucknow - 226 003, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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Bioresorbable vascular scaffolds represent the next revolution in stent technology. They serve the dual purpose of antiproliferative drug delivery to vascular lumen like a drug-eluting stents (DES) as well as phased strut resorption over time leading to virtual elimination of stent thrombosis. The ABSORB GT-1 stent was the prototype bioresrbable vascular scaffold with maximum clinical experience and initial promising results. However, reports of stent thrombosis emerged with ABSORB too. Although the use of intracoronary imaging and proper implantation technique has the potential to reduce stent thrombosis rates, the device has been withdrawn from the market for now. We report a case of late stent thrombosis with ABSORB which was managed with DES-supported intracoronary imaging.

Keywords: Antiplatelet, drug-eluting stent, geographic miss, intravascular ultrasound

How to cite this article:
Pradhan A, Vishwakarma P, Vankar S, Sethi R. “The unpredictable ABSORB” – very late stent thrombosis of bioresorbable vascular scaffold. Heart Views 2019;20:65-9

How to cite this URL:
Pradhan A, Vishwakarma P, Vankar S, Sethi R. “The unpredictable ABSORB” – very late stent thrombosis of bioresorbable vascular scaffold. Heart Views [serial online] 2019 [cited 2023 Nov 29];20:65-9. Available from: https://www.heartviews.org/text.asp?2019/20/2/65/263847

   Introduction Top

Bioresorbable vascular scaffolds (BRS) represent a significant evolution in stent technology. They offer a multitude potential advantages over their metallic congeners including full restoration of vessel vasomotion, obviation of the need for prolonged dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT), prevention of potentially deleterious effects of long-term metals' presence, and possibility of future graft insertion to name a few.[1],[2],[3]

ABSORB (polymer-based BRS) is the most widely implanted BRS to date with the largest clinical data and experience. After initial enthusiasm from the success of ABSORB I and II studies, reports of late scaffold thrombosis in ABSORB III study have given way to circumspect and suspicion over long-term advantages of ABSORB as well as bioresorbable stent technology.[4],[5]

We report a case of late stent thrombosis (ST) of ABSORB presenting as ST segment elevation myocardial infarction.

   Case Presentation Top

A 30-year-male was admitted in the coronary care unit with a history of acute onset of severe chest pain lasting for 3 h. His electrocardiogram revealed normal sinus rhythm and ST segment elevation in anterior precordial chest leads with maximum elevation of 7 mm seen in lead V3. He was an active smoker and chewed tobacco. He had suffered from anterior wall myocardial infarction (MI) 1½ year ago and had underwent percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) with stenting to left anterior descending (LAD) with BRS-ABSORB (Abbot Vascular Inc.,) with size of 3.5 mm × 23 mm.

The patient received DAPT (aspirin 150 mg and clopidogrel 75 mg) which he took regularly for 1 year. After 1 year of DAPT, the patient was continued with aspirin 150 mg only. Along with this, he was also prescribed beta-blocker, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, spironolactone, and low-dose diuretic. However, he had defaulted on all the medications for the past 4 months.

The patient was thrombolysed with intravenous streptokinase within the window period of 3 h. He was taken for routine angiograpghy within 24 h, as a part of pharmacoinvasive therapy.

The coronary angiogram revealed severe in-stent disease in the mid portion of LAD coronary artery [Figure 1] and [Video 1]. The two radiopaque markers of ABSORB were clearly delineated [Figure 2].
Figure 1: Coronary angiogram in posteroanterior view with cranial angulation showing discrete lesion in mid part of the left anterior descending artery (arrow)

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Figure 2: Cineangiogram without contrast in posteroanterior view with cranial angulation showing proximal and distal radiopaque markers of ABSORB bioresorbable vascular scaffolds

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The left main coronary artery was engaged with Extra Back Up guide catheter (Medtronic Inc., Minneapolis, MN, USA) and LAD was wired with Runthrough NS (Terumo Inc., Somerset, NJ, USA) wire. Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) was performed with Eagle eye catheter, 6F (Volcano Inc., North Ryde, NSW, NZ). The malapposed and undersized ABSORB stent was visible with the presence of intraluminal thrombus [Figure 3] and [Video 2]. Plaque extending proximal to stent was also visualized in IVUS run indicating probably a geographical miss. The lesion was predilated with a 2.5 mm × 12 mm semicompliant balloon. A 3.5 mm × 28 mm metallic drug-eluting stent (DES) (Xience Prime, Abbot Vascular Inc., Santa Clara, CA, USA) was implanted in the LAD. The stent was postdilated with a 3.5 mm × 12 mm noncomplaint balloon at high pressures, and a final IVUS run revealed a fully apposed stent without any plaque prolapse, edge dissection, or residual thrombus [Figure 4] and [Video 3]. Two layers of stent were visible, the outer one being previously implanted ABSORB and the inner one being metallic DES [Figure 5] and [Video 4]. Prasugrel and aspirin were initiated, and the importance of drug compliance was reemphasized. He was discharged the next day and was asymptomatic as of 3-month follow-up.
Figure 3: Left panel - gray scale intravascular ultrasound image in the left anterior descending demonstrating the malapposed and undersized ABSORB bioresorbable vascular scaffolds (arrow) with intraluminal thrombus (*)- Right panel - gray scale intravascular ultrasound image proximal to ABSORB showing plaque burden indicating geographical miss

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Figure 4: Final angiogram of left anterior descending in posteroanterior view with cranial angulation showing TIMI3 flow without any residual lesion or dissection

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Figure 5: Final intravascular ultrasound image of left anterior descending showing two layers of stent in the left anterior descending - the inner circle depicting apposed and expanded metallic drug-eluting stents (red arrow) and the outer circleb representing unresorbed bioresorbable vascular scaffolds (9 o'clock to 12 o'clock, white arrow)

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   Discussion Top

Contemporary DES have shown improved outcomes following PCI owing to diminished rate of both ST and restenosis. However, the long-term persistence of metal in the coronary vasculature has the potential for inflammation, restenosis, and neoatherosclerosis. BRS were introduced to overcome many of the limitations of a metallic drug eluting stent (DES). BRS serves the dual purpose of drug elution like a DES as well as late benefits of dissolution of stent.[1] There are a multitude of advantages of disappearance of a stent including the potential for reintervention, restoration of vasomotion, better imaging of stented segment, obviation of side branch occlusion by stent struts, future vessel growth, and of course, alleviating the need for long-term antiplatelet therapy.[2],[3] Because of the potential for complete disappearance of stent material, there was associated anticipation of complete alleviation of risk for ST.

The ABSORB GT-1 remains the prototype BVS with maximal clinical experience. It consists of a fully resorbable poly–L-lactide scaffold with fully resorbable poly D, L-lactide-based coating of everolimus. The BRS resorption by remodelling is complete by 3 years and can continue up to 5 years.[2]

The initial positive results of ABSORB cohort A and B led to randomized ABSORB II and III randomized trials.[3] Both the studies met their primary end points and established that ABSORB is noninferior to metallic DES with respect to target lesion failure. BVS-EXAMINATION and ABSORB-TROFI II studies also demonstrated safety and feasibility of ABSORB in acute MI while the later study demonstrated better healing in the ABSORB arm on follow-up by intracoronary imaging.[4],[5]

However, despite the anticipation and initial enthusiasm, reports of scaffold thrombosis emerged with ABSORB too. The rate of subacute or probable scaffold thrombosis was higher with ABSORB vis-à-vis metallic DES.[6] The incidence was from 0.42% to 1.37% with the highest rates seen in patients of ACS (1.42%).[7]

The various causes of early scaffold thrombosis included malapposition, underdeployment of scaffold, incomplete coverage of lesions, acute disruption, and overlap. On the other hand, malapposition, peri-strut low-intensity area, late discontinuity, underdeployed stent, uncovered struts, and neoatherosclerosis were responsible for late scaffold thrombosis.[8] More recently, a “PSP” (predilatation, correct scaffold sizing, and postdilatation) algorithm for scaffold deployment has been proposed to improve outcomes after BRS implantation.[9]

The thicker struts (150–160 μm with ABSORB vs. 50–60 μm with new generation metallic DES) of ABSORB may have led to flow disturbances and delayed neointimal coverage leading to scaffold thrombosis. At present, Abbott Vascular has withdrawn ABSORB from commercial use due to low demand but follow-ups would continue.[10]

With regard to ST, there is always the rhetorical question, who is at fault – the patient, the stent, or the operator?[11],[12] In our case, probably all three. The patient erred by virtue of his discontinuation of his antiplatelet medications. The operator probably not only by lack optimization of the ABSORB by imaging guidance but also by failure of application of “PSP” technique as discussed above. The device by its inherent bulky design and slow rate of dissolution was also in cahoots with other factors. Compared with metallic DES, the risk of ST with ABSORB has shown to be increased by two times.[13] Moreover, the risk continues to remain high at all time points – early, late, and very late.[14]

The lessons learnt with ABSORB BRS can be utilized to guide and modify evolving BRS technologies like MAGMARIS (Biotronik Inc., Switzerland) and MeRES-100 (Meril Life Sciences, India).

   Conclusion Top

BVS represented a remarkable evolution in stent technology with a multitude of potential benefits. ABSORB GT-1 was the prototype and clinically approved BVS with maximum clinical data. However, despite a host of potential benefits late ST has remained its bane. Proper implantation technique under intracoronary imaging guidance and appropriate sizing of device has been postulated to ameliorate some of the adverse outcomes. The experiences with ABSORB BRS will have potential implication for future BRS technology.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Ormiston JA, Serruys PW. Bioabsorbable coronary stents. Circ Cardiovasc Interv 2009;2:255-60.  Back to cited text no. 1
Iqbal J, Onuma Y, Ormiston J, Abizaid A, Waksman R, Serruys P. Bioresorbable scaffolds: Rationale, current status, challenges, and future. Eur Heart J 2014;35:765-76.  Back to cited text no. 2
Testa L, Latib A, Montone RA, Colombo A, Bedogni F. Coronary bioresorbable vascular scaffold use in the treatment of coronary artery disease. Circ Cardiovasc Interv 2016;9. pii: e003978.  Back to cited text no. 3
Brugaletta S, Gori T, Low AF, Tousek P, Pinar E, Gomez-Lara J, et al. Absorb bioresorbable vascular scaffold versus everolimus-eluting metallic stent in ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction: 1-year results of a propensity score matching comparison: The BVS-EXAMINATION study (bioresorbable vascular scaffold-a clinical evaluation of everolimus eluting coronary stents in the treatment of patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction). JACC Cardiovasc Interv 2015;8:189-97.  Back to cited text no. 4
Sabaté M, Windecker S, Iñiguez A, Okkels-Jensen L, Cequier A, Brugaletta S, et al. Everolimus-eluting bioresorbable stent vs. durable polymer everolimus-eluting metallic stent in patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction: Results of the randomized ABSORB ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction-TROFI II trial. Eur Heart J 2016;37:229-40.  Back to cited text no. 5
Cassese S, Byrne RA, Ndrepepa G, Kufner S, Wiebe J, Repp J, et al. Everolimus-eluting bioresorbable vascular scaffolds versus everolimus-eluting metallic stents: A meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Lancet 2016;387:537-44.  Back to cited text no. 6
Sotomi Y, Suwannasom P, Serruys PW, Onuma Y. Possible mechanical causes of scaffold thrombosis: Insights from case reports with intracoronary imaging. EuroIntervention 2017;12:1747-56.  Back to cited text no. 7
Puricel S, Cuculi F, Weissner M, Schmermund A, Jamshidi P, Nyffenegger T, et al. Bioresorbable coronary scaffold thrombosis: Multicenter comprehensive analysis of clinical presentation, mechanisms, and predictors. J Am Coll Cardiol 2016;67:921-31.  Back to cited text no. 8
Ortega-Paz L, Capodanno D, Gori T, Nef H, Latib A, Caramanno G, et al. Predilation, sizing and post-dilation scoring in patients undergoing everolimus-eluting bioresorbable scaffold implantation for prediction of cardiac adverse events: Development and internal validation of the PSP score. EuroIntervention 2017;12:2110-7.  Back to cited text no. 9
Absorb Update. Santa Clara, CA, USA: Abbott Vascular; 2017. Available from: http://www.vascular.abbott.com/products/coronaryinterventions/Absorb bioresorbable vascular scaffold system. [Last accessed on 2018 Dec 30].  Back to cited text no. 10
Serruys PW, Di Mario C. Who was thrombogenic: The stent or the doctor? Circulation 1995;91:1891-3.  Back to cited text no. 11
Colombo A, Ruparelia N. Who is thrombogenic: The scaffold or the doctor? Back to the future! JACC Cardiovasc Interv 2016;9:25-7.  Back to cited text no. 12
Lipinski MJ, Escarcega RO, Baker NC, Benn HA, Gaglia MA Jr., Torguson R, et al. Scaffold thrombosis after percutaneous coronary intervention with ABSORB bioresorbable vascular scaffold: A systematic review and meta-analysis. JACC Cardiovasc Interv 2016;9:12-24.  Back to cited text no. 13
Sorrentino S, Giustino G, Mehran R, Kini AS, Sharma SK, Faggioni M, et al. Everolimus-eluting bioresorbable scaffolds versus everolimus-eluting metallic stents. J Am Coll Cardiol 2017;69:3055-66.  Back to cited text no. 14


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5]

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