Stents are structural support devices comprised of mesh, metal, or fabric. Stents are placed in weak or narrow arteries to strengthen them and improve blood flow. Procedures such as coronary angioplasty implement such devices.
What is it?
Stent placement refers to the addition of a wire mesh or stainless steel tube into an artery to keep it open. The procedure is necessary for patients whose arteries have fatty deposits blocking blood flow and are at risk for a heart attack or stroke. The stent allows for smooth blood flow and reduces the risk of clot formation.
What should I do to prepare?
The patient receiving the stent should discuss any allergies and current medications with his or her doctor. The patient should also refrain from eating and drinking after midnight the night before the procedure, and arrange for transportation to and from the hospital.
What happens during the process?
The doctor inserts a balloon catheter into an artery and inflates it to open the blocked artery. The inflation may be painful or uncomfortable, but will subside when the balloon is deflated. The stent is moved towards the site that has been opened. Another small tube, called a sheath, might stay in the artery for several hours or even overnight following the procedure.
What are the risks and potential complications?
Usually, the risks of not receiving a stent replacement outweigh the risks of receiving such a procedure. However, there are several possible risks to be aware of when receiving a stent placement procedure, including but not limited to, allergic reactions to procedural medications/dyes, breathing problems due to anesthesia or stent in bronchi, bleeding, artery blockage, blood clots, heart attacks, and re-narrowing of the artery.
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