Patient Care - Adult cardiac, endovascular, and thoracic aortic surgery
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Stent - An intraluminal coronary artery stent is a small, self-expanding, stainless steel mesh tube that is placed within a coronary artery to keep the vessel open. It may be used during a coronary artery bypass graft surgery to keep the grafted vessel open, after balloon angioplasty to prevent reclosure of the blood vessel, or during other heart surgeries.
A stent is often used to support tissues while healing takes place. A stent can keep "tube-shaped" structures such as blood vessels or ureters (the tubes that drain the kidney) open after a surgical procedure.
Angioplasty is usually combined with implantation of a small metal coil called a stent in the clogged artery to help prop it open and decrease the chance of it narrowing again (restenosis).
After the artery is widened, the stent is usually placed in the artery to act as scaffolding to help prevent it from re-narrowing after the angioplasty.
The stent looks like a very tiny coil of wire mesh. Stents can be coated with medication that's slowly released to help prevent arteries from re-clogging. These coated stents are called drug-eluting stents, in contrast to noncoated versions, which are called bare-metal stents.
How the procedure is performed:
- First, the stent is collapsed, placed around a balloon at the tip of the catheter and guided through the artery to the blockage.
- At the blockage, the balloon is inflated and the spring-like stent expands and locks into place inside the artery.
- The stent remains in the artery permanently to hold it open and improve blood flow to your heart.
- Once the stent is in place, the balloon catheter is removed and more images (angiograms) are taken to see how well blood flows through your newly widened artery.
- Finally, the guide catheter is removed and the procedure completed.
After stent placement, medications may be needed to reduce the chance of blood clots forming on the stent material.