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What is a Stent?

Animation Copyright © Milner-Fenwick
“Looks better after the balloon. We’re going to go ahead and put that stent in, okay? Are you doing alright?”
Depending on the extent of the blockage, your cardiologist may implant a stent during the angioplasty procedure.
A stent is a metal, scaffold-like device. When the balloon is inflated, the stent expands into place, pushing the plaque against the artery wall.
This reinforces the artery, holding it open, and reduces the risk of it narrowing again.
The stent will stay in place permanently.
There are two types of stents: bare metal stents and drug eluting stents.
Over a period of months, new tissue will grow over the bare metal stent covering it completely.
A drug eluting stent is a metal stent that has been coated with a drug. This drug is released slowly and prevents new tissue from growing over it.
The angioplasty and stenting procedures usually take about one hour.
“Okay, how are you doing? All done, stent’s in, no blockage left, looks real nice.”
If a stent is used, you will be given a special blood thinning medication, called an antiplatelet agent, to prevent blood clots from forming. Depending on the type of stent used, the amount of time you need to use this medication will vary.
With a drug eluting stent you must also take aspirin everyday. You’ll receive an I.D. card identifying the type of stent that was used. Keep this card with you at all times.
Not all angioplasties require stenting. If you need an angioplasty, your doctor will decide if a stent is right for you, based on the location and size of the blockage.
Be sure to ask any questions you may have.
Animation Copyright © Milner-Fenwick
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