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UNMC receives $4 million grant to test tailored heart stents

Posted at 8:07 AM, Jul 09, 2019

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — A team of the University of Nebraska Medical Center physician-scientists and engineers is testing a way to prevent the common recurrence of stent blockages in patients with coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease and stroke are the leading causes of death in the world.

Blockages in coronary arteries are treated with bypass surgery or with stents, which open the blockage and prevent narrowing of the artery. Stents can narrow, however - called restenosis. Restenosis becomes more apparent in branching coronary arteries - called bifurcations.

Bifurcation stents account for about one out of five stent procedures and about 20 percent of them fail.

"Stents tend to narrow - so-called restenosis - and this becomes more apparent when it comes to bifurcation stents," doctor Yiannis Chatzizisis, UNMC associate professor of medicine and cardiologist at Nebraska Medicine, and principal investigator of the grant.

The research team is using 3D animation, angiography, CT and other coronary imaging tests - the re-construct bifurcation geometries in powerful laboratory computers. The team will test different stent techniques in the lab and guide physicians to apply the best technique to each patient.