What is a Coronary Stent?
A stent is a small, expandable tube that can be inserted into a blood vessel and expanded using a small balloon during a procedure called angioplasty or also known as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). A stent is used to open a narrowed or clotted blood vessel.
Some stents are made of metal and others are coated with medicine that is slowly and continuously released into the artery. These stents are called drug-eluting stents. The medicine helps prevent the artery from becoming blocked again (restenosis).
A stent is placed in an artery as part of a procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention(PCI), also known as coronary angioplasty. PCI restores blood flow through narrow or blocked arteries. A stent helps support the inner wall of the artery in the months or years after PCI.
When the balloon inside the stent is inflated, the stent expands and presses against the walls of the artery. This traps any fat and calcium buildup against the walls of the artery, allows blood to flow through the artery. The stent helps prevent the artery from closing again (restenosis). It can also help prevent small pieces of plaque from breaking off and causing a heart attack or stroke.
What can I expect during the procedure?
During PCI, a thin, flexible tube with a balloon or other device on the end is threaded through a blood vessel to the narrow or blocked coronary artery.
Once in place, the balloon is inflated to compress the plaque against the wall of the artery. This restores blood flow through the artery, which reduces angina and other CHD symptoms.
Unless an artery is too small, a stent usually is placed in the treated portion of the artery during PCI. The stent supports the artery's inner wall. It also reduces the chance that the artery will become narrow or blocked again. A stent also can support an artery that was torn or injured during PCI.