Dubai The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) Monday announced an innovative new procedure for treating blocked heart arteries, making the UAE the fifth in the world to have this mode of treatment.

Three Emirati patients underwent the procedure last week which unclog the blocked arteries with a ‘scaffolding' that dissolves within the body within three months.

Unlike the metal stents which remain in the body for ever, the new "bioresorable' scaffolding do not turn the arteries rigid, making it easier for further treatment in the future, surgeons said.

Younger than average

UAE residents suffer from heart problems a decade younger than the world average, surgeons said, citing smoking, eating junk food and lack of exercise, as the contributing factors.

The new procedure called "Absorb" is said to be ground-breaking and is called the "fourth revolution" in the field of cardiology. It will be available only in the government hospitals initially, DHA said.

"We are determined to reduce the social and economic burden of disease in the UAE," said Khalid Al Shaikh Mubarak, deputy director general of DHA, announcing the procedure.

Number one killer

Heart disease is the number one killer in the country, the DHA official said. A leading surgeon said he sees 10 to 15 heart patients every day. "It is a huge problem," he said of the rampant heart disease in the country.

Surgeons said since it is a new technology, the cost is presently triple at Dh 20,000 than using a metal stent, which costs Dh 8000.