Abbott innovates for life

February 23, 2017 | 15:30
Innovation drives Abbott’s more than 125 years of “making an everlasting impact on human health.”

One of the company’s latest innovations, the Absorb stent for the treatment of coronary artery disease (CAD), has earned the company accolades from credential organisations and brought a better life to patients in Vietnam and around the globe.

Abbott’s innovative devices which received many innovation awards is AbsorbTM stent - the world's first fully dissolving heart stent

Crucial healthcare innovations

Innovation is today’s business engine. Companies keep coming out with new solutions. Organisations weigh these solutions and give out titles and awards recognising the companies for their impact on the life of the community.

However, companies that have withstood the test of time have been innovating since forever. For more than 125 years of history, Abbott has cemented its identity and growth in advancing technology and scientific innovation, pioneering medical and healthcare practices, empowering people all over the world not only to live longer, but better.

In many years, the company has remained a significant force of innovation, discovering and developing new healthcare products and technologies. Its innovations have been the constant companions for many generations around the world. Abbott has been named among the most innovative companies by Fast Company, and has been voted into the Top 100 Global Innovators for the fourth consecutive year by Clarivate.

Most recently, Popular Science named Abbott’s Absorb disappearing stent and FreeStyle Libre* glucose monitoring system—the one that saves you a routine probe of a finger—as two of its "Best of What's New" innovations in 2016.

Abbott has long been in the business of life, creating more possibilities for an ever-increasing number of people through the power of health. However, this business is not about reflecting on past achievements. It is about relentlessly pursuing new ones.

As the company expands its global presence to emerging markets, including Vietnam, it has brought innovative solutions and commits to increase the quality of healthcare to meet the increasing demand in the region.

Absorb, a leap in CAD treatment

Vietnam is particularly vulnerable to heart disease with currently over 25 per cent of the population aged 25 years old and above having hypertension, according to 2014 data by the World Health Organisation.

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death for men and women around the world, in developed and third world countries alike, and CAD is the most common type of heart disease.

Heart diseases are on the rise in Vietnam, already impacting nearly 10 per cent of the population. An additional 20 per cent is expected to suffer from heart diseases by 2017, according to an October 2014 publication by the World Cardiovascular Association.

One of the treatment methods of CAD is placing a stent to open a blocked artery in the heart, restoring the blood flow and providing relief from symptoms. In the past, doctors often used a metallic stent, which has been proven effective. However, it has a disadvantage in as much as it brings an external object into the body. The patient has to take medicine to prevent blood clotting at the stent, and the stent permanently restricts vessel movement and limits future treatment options.

Absorb functions like a permanent metallic stent, with the important difference that it is made of polylactide, a naturally dissolvable material that is commonly used in medical implants, such as dissolving sutures that leave behind a restored vessel in its natural state, free of a permanent implants after two or three years, save two pairs of tiny metallic markers that remain in the artery to enable a physician to see where the device was placed.

Absorb is fully dissolved after three years of implantation to patients, leaving nothing behind but a restored vessel

Absorb bestowes unique benefits to patients which would not be possible with metallic stents, including increasing the vessel’s ability to restore to its natural state over time, returning natural vessel motion, the ability to have future interventions at the site, and the natural vessel curvature.

Absorb was introduced to Vietnam in December 2012. The first of its kind introduced to Vietnam, Absorb has seen an upward adoption curve with more than 400 implantations on patients as of 2015.

“Abbott’s Absorb offers timely treatment that gives Vietnamese people access to the world’s latest advanced technologies without going abroad for treatment,” said Dr Krishna Sudhir, consulting professor of Medicine at the Center for Cardiovascular Technology at Stanford University and vice president of Medical Affairs at Abbott Vascular.

Vietnam in focus

According to Sudhir, Vietnam is one of Abbott’s priority markets. The company is investing in a range of developmental programmes to improve the leadership capabilities of 3,400 employees working in Abbott Vietnam’s four divisions, namely Nutrition, Pharmaceuticals, Diagnostics, and Medical Devices. Moreover, Abbott’s business in Vietnam leverages its global research and development investments, but is specially targeted at addressing the needs of Vietnamese communities.

Improving the socioeconomic situation in the country is also among Abbott’s core focuses. Each year on average, 26,400 physicians were trained at Abbott’s forums, seminars, and in-hospital events, where they gained important insight into science, knowledge of international guidelines and norms, and knowledge about diseases that were previously uncommon in Vietnam but are now more prevalent.

“Vietnam faces clear healthcare challenges, along with many of its neighbouring countries. Access to and quality of care vary widely across the nation, and healthcare professionals often look to companies like Abbott and other partners for education and training with regards to new and emerging treatments and medications,” said Sudhir. “As a result, we will also be focusing on medical training for physicians and doctors to supply sufficient medical staff for meeting primary healthcare needs.”

“The early introduction of Absorb to Vietnam has demonstrated Abbott’s commitment in helping Vietnamese people have better health and better life. In the near future, we will continue to bring more innovative healthcare solutions that empower Vietnamese people to live a fuller life,” he said.

By By Hong Anh

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