A coronary artery stent is a small metal mesh tube that expands inside a coronary artery. A stent is often placed during or immediately after angioplasty. It helps prevent the artery from closing up again.
Coronary artery stenting is performed to relieve the recurrence of chest pain, and reduce other complications from coronary artery disease.
The stent is mounted on a balloon-tipped catheter in a collapsed state and is then inserted and carefully guided to the blocked artery. When the balloon is inflated, the stent expands to fit the size of the blocked artery and pushes against the inner wall of the artery to provide a pathway for increased blood flow. When the balloon is deflated, the catheter and balloon are removed, leaving the stent in place. After several weeks, the artery heals around the stent. The stent keeps the artery open and prevents it from narrowing again. Your cardiologist also may use a stent coated with medication to prevent the artery from re-narrowing.
The procedure can take 30 to 60 minutes dependent upon the number of stents that have to be implanted. While you remain awake, a mild sedative is provided to make you more comfortable. Once your cardiologist is satisfied with the results, the tubes in the arm or leg will be removed. You will be allowed to walk with assistance after about one to six hours. Patients with stents inserted from the arm frequently will be discharged the same day. Otherwise, patients are discharged the following morning if there are no complications.
To learn more about coronary artery stenting or any Summa Health cardiac care services, call the Heart and Vascular Institute for an appointment today.