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Northeast Georgia Medical Center the First in GA To Implant Naturally Dissolving Heart Stent

Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) is the first and only hospital in the state – and the third in the Southeastern U.S. – to offer patients with coronary artery disease a new treatment option that literally disappears over time.

Dr. Christopher Leach implanted the world’s first FDA-approved dissolvable heart stent in a patient Monday afternoon at NGMC Gainesville. The “Absorb” stent, made by Abbott, is a major advance in the treatment of coronary artery disease – which usually results in blocked arteries, restricted blood flow and increased risk of heart attack. Coronary artery disease affects 15 million people in the United States and remains a leading cause of death worldwide.

“We’ve been researching this life-saving technology for several years, closely monitoring its FDA trials and waiting for the day we could use it to help our patients,” says Dr. Leach, an interventional cardiologist with The Heart Center of NGMC. “I’m proud that we’ve completed our first case and look forward to helping the next person who can benefit from this advanced treatment.”

NGMC is one of only 100 hospitals in the U.S. who will begin offering Absorb stents this month. While heart stents are traditionally made of metal, the Absorb stent is made of a naturally dissolving material that’s similar to dissolving stitches. The Absorb stent disappears in about three years, after it has done its job of keeping a clogged artery open and helping the artery heal, whereas metal stents stay in patients’ bodies for life.

“Being the first and only hospital in the state to offer this advanced treatment is a perfect example of why NGMC is rated Georgia’s #1 Heart Hospital, 11 years in a row,” says Dr. Jeffrey Marshall, medical director of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at NGMC. “Our entire care team – including physicians, advanced practitioners, techs, nurses and staff – has unmatched clinical expertise and a passion for treating patients like they would treat their own family.”

You can learn more about the Absorb stent, watch a video about how it works and request more information by visiting If you would like to meet with a cardiologist to find out if Absorb is right for you, you can request an appointment online at or by calling 770-534-2020.