What is a Stent
A stent is a medical device used to treat narrowed or blocked coronary arteries, which are the blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle. When a coronary artery becomes narrowed or blocked due to a buildup of plaque, it restricts blood flow to the heart, leading to various symptoms.
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What Is a stent and how does it work?
Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is a minimally invasive procedure performed to open blocked or narrowed coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscle. It is commonly used to treat coronary artery disease (CAD) and is often referred to as angioplasty or balloon angioplasty.
During the PCI procedure, a catheter with a deflated balloon at its tip is inserted into a blood vessel, usually through the groin or wrist. The catheter is carefully threaded up to the affected coronary artery. Once in place, the balloon is inflated, which compresses the plaque buildup and widens the artery, restoring blood flow to the heart.
In many cases, a stent is also used during the procedure. A stent is a small, mesh-like tube made of metal or sometimes a drug-coated material. It is mounted on a balloon and placed at the site of the blockage. When the balloon is inflated, the stent expands and remains in place, acting as a scaffold to keep the artery open. The stent helps to maintain proper blood flow and reduces the risk of the artery becoming blocked again.
PCI is considered a less invasive alternative to coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), a surgical procedure that involves creating new pathways for blood flow around blocked arteries. PCI is typically performed in a cardiac catheterization laboratory (cath lab) by an interventional cardiologist.
It is indeed one of the most common cardiac procedures performed worldwide, providing significant benefits to patients with coronary artery disease by relieving symptoms, improving blood flow, and reducing the risk of heart attacks. However, the choice of treatment depends on various factors, including the severity and location of blockages, overall health of the patient, and the presence of other medical conditions. The decision regarding PCI or other treatments is typically made by a healthcare professional based on individual patient circumstances.
It is a minimally invasive procedure performed by an interventional cardiologist to treat coronary artery disease and restore blood flow to the heart muscle.
During the procedure, a small wire, called a guide wire, is inserted into an artery, either in the arm (radial artery) or the leg (femoral artery). The guide wire is carefully maneuvered through the arterial system until it reaches the blockage in the coronary artery. Once the wire is positioned across the blockage, a balloon catheter is threaded over the wire and positioned at the narrowed segment.
The balloon is then inflated, which compresses the plaque against the artery walls, widening the lumen and restoring blood flow. However, the artery tends to recoil after balloon deflation, so to keep it open, a stent is typically inserted.
A stent is a small, mesh-like metal tube, often made of stainless steel or a metal alloy. It is mounted on a balloon catheter and positioned at the site of the blockage. When the balloon is inflated, the stent expands and locks into place against the artery walls, providing a scaffold to keep the artery open. The balloon is then deflated and removed, leaving the stent in place permanently.
Stents are designed to be flexible, allowing them to navigate through the blood vessels easily, and yet they possess radial strength to keep the artery open and resist collapse. They can be either bare-metal stents (BMS) or drug-eluting stents (DES). Drug-eluting stents are coated with medication that helps prevent the artery from narrowing again, reducing the risk of restenosis.
It's important to note that while PCI with stent placement is a commonly performed procedure, the specific details may vary based on the patient's condition, the location of the blockage, and the interventional cardiologist's judgment and experience. It is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for accurate information and guidance regarding medical procedures.
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Cardiac Stents - Prognosis and Risks of Implantation
Stents are commonly made of biocompatible materials, such as stainless steel, cobalt-chromium alloy, or nickel-titanium alloy (also known as nitinol). These materials are chosen because they have low reactivity with the body, reducing the risk of adverse reactions or inflammation.
However, it is important to note that some individuals may have specific allergies or sensitivities to certain metals, particularly nickel. In such cases, alternative stent materials, such as cobalt-chromium or polymer-based stents, may be considered to avoid potential allergic reactions. It is crucial to inform the cardiologist about any known allergies before the interventional procedure to ensure appropriate stent selection.
Once a stent is implanted, a natural healing process called endothelialization occurs, where cells in the body's blood vessels grow over the stent, creating a layer of tissue that covers the metal surface. This tissue layer helps to prevent direct contact between the metal and the bloodstream.
Over time, the stent becomes fully integrated into the arterial wall, and the body's tissues effectively "seal" the stent, embedding it within the artery. This integration process helps ensure the stability and long-term effectiveness of the stent.
In most cases, stents are designed to be permanent implants and do not need to be replaced or explanted. However, there are situations where stent-related complications or new blockages may require additional procedures or interventions. Regular follow-up with a healthcare professional is important to monitor the stent's function and address any potential issues.
It's worth noting that medical practices and technologies continually evolve, and new advancements in stent designs and materials may emerge in the future. Therefore, it's always best to consult with a qualified healthcare professional for the most up-to-date information regarding stent implantation and management.
Stents are highly effective for what they’re designed to do, which is to relieve obstruction from cholesterol blockages to improve symptoms, and in the cases of heart attacks, open up plugged vessels to relieve damage to heart muscle from lack of blood flow. Having said that, it should be recognized that putting a stent into someone is essentially putting a foreign body where a foreign body should not have been put in to begin with. It is, unfortunately, in many cases medically necessary, but there are one or two expected complications that may occur. Firstly, by putting a foreign body in, you run the risk of having scar tissue formation from a response to injury, and certain types of stents may clog up, not with cholesterol but with scar tissue. In individuals who are at risk for developing scar tissues, special types of stents coated with medications to prevent scar tissue division and formation can sometimes be used. In addition, when a stainless steel tube is placed inside an artery, it sometimes will injure the artery, and the body's response to an injury is sometimes it will bleed, and if part of the body bleeds it can sometimes form a clot, and so another complication of a stent is that sometimes you can form clots at the site of the stent implantation, therefore it's critical that after a stent is implanted powerful blood thinners need to be taken for a number of months.
One of these drugs includes Aspirin, the other drug will include the cousin of Aspirin, known as Clopidogrel or ticagrelor or prasugrel for a certain period to prevent clot formation within the stent. Often seeing a local family physician or a pharmacist in conjunction with a registered dietitian, a local athletic therapist is a great option to take control of dehydration. In conjunction with healthy eating, exercise.
Symptoms of a narrowed coronary artery can include angina, which is characterized by chest pain or discomfort. This pain may also radiate to the arms, shoulders, jaw, neck, or back. Other symptoms can include shortness of breath, cold sweat, and lightheadedness.
It's worth noting that some individuals may have a narrowing in their coronary arteries without experiencing any symptoms. This condition is known as silent ischemia. In such cases, the reduced blood flow to the heart may not cause noticeable symptoms, but it still increases the risk of a heart attack or other heart-related complications.
When a person with a narrowed or blocked coronary artery undergoes a stent procedure, a tiny wire mesh tube is inserted into the affected artery. The stent helps to hold the artery open, improving blood flow to the heart and relieving symptoms. Stents are often made of metal and can be either bare metal stents or drug-eluting stents, which release medication to prevent the artery from narrowing again.
It's important to consult with a healthcare professional if you experience symptoms of angina or suspect you may have a narrowing in your coronary arteries. They can evaluate your condition and recommend appropriate diagnostic tests and treatment options, which may include a stent procedure if necessary.
Remember to verify the information provided by contacting the healthcare providers directly, as network participation and availability can vary over time. Find local Cardiologists, pharmacists and cardio thoracic Surgeons who have Appointments available to treat with can conditions and symptoms of