Stent Implant Video
What is a Stent ?
A stent is a tiny mesh tube used to prop an artery open to improve blood flow. A stent implant begins when your doctor inserts a small flexible tube called a catheter through a blood vessel in your groin or arm. During a stent implant your doctor uses a catheter with a balloon and a stent on the end. Your doctor positions the balloon with the stent over it at the site of the blockage. Your doctor opens the balloon to press the stent against your artery wall. The balloon is then deflated and removed from your body leaving the stent in place.
Stents are usually made of metal mesh, but sometimes they’re made of fabric. Fabric stents, also called stent grafts, are used in larger arteries. Drug eluting are stents that are coated with medicines that are slowly and continuously released into the artery. These medicines help prevent the artery from becoming blocked again.
Coronary Stent (Heart Stent)
With age and some health conditions, the inside openings of the coronary arteries can narrow due to deposits of a fatty substance called plaque. High cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking can cause the arteries to narrow. This narrowing of the coronary arteries can cause angina or lead to heart attack.
During angioplasty, doctors expand a tiny balloon inside the artery to compress the plaque and widen the passageway. The result is improved blood flow to the heart and a decreased chance of heart attack.
Unless an artery is too small, doctors usually place a stent in the treated portion of the artery during angioplasty. The stent supports the inner artery wall and reduces the chance of the artery closing up again. A stent also can keep an artery open that was torn or injured during angioplasty.
When stents are placed in coronary arteries, there's a 1 in 5 chance that the arteries will close in the first 6 months after angioplasty. When stents aren't used, the risk of the arteries closing can be twice as high.
Coronary Artery Stent Placement
The illustration shows the placement of a stent in a coronary artery with plaque buildup. The coronary artery is located on the surface of the heart. Figure A shows the deflated balloon catheter and closed stent inserted into the narrowed coronary artery. The insert image on figure A shows a cross-section of the artery with the inserted balloon catheter and closed stent. In figure B, the balloon is inflated, expanding the stent and compressing the plaque to restore the size of the artery. Figure C shows normal blood flow restored in the stent-widened artery. The insert image on figure C shows a cross-section of the compressed plaque and stent-widened artery.