Coronary arteries deliver oxygenated blood to the heart muscles. Over time due to the accumulation of fatty deposits, calcium and cholesterol commonly known as plaque, the blood flow through them gets limited. This condition is known as coronary heart disease. When a considerable amount of blockage is detected in an artery, the expandable metal stent is inserted into the blocked artery of the heart during an angioplasty. It opens the narrowed or blocked artery and prevents it from closing up again in the long term. The process of stent to the heart is usually recommended for patients who have a one or two considerable amount of blocked arteries. If more than two arteries are detected to be blocked, the patient probably will need to undergo bypass surgery.
What is a Stent to the Heart?
A stent to the heart also called a cardiac stent or coronary artery stent is a stainless steel mesh tube that keeps the blocked coronary arteries open. A stent to the heart is inserted in the artery when there is a considerable amount of blockage detected that restricts blood supply to the heart muscles. A heart block is made up of fat and cholesterol found in blood, and if this restriction is left untreated, it increases the risk of heart attack.
If the stent to the heart is to be inserted, it is done during angioplasty. The patient is usually awake and is given local anaesthesia. Then a small incision is made in the patient's groin or arm to insert a flexible tube called catheter. The stent remains attached to the catheter with an inflatable balloon on the tip. With the help of iodine dye and X-ray camera, the catheter is guided to the blocked artery. Once it reaches the blocked area of the artery the balloon is inflated which expands the stainless stent and stretches the artery which increases the blood flow. Due to the inflation of the balloon, the plaque flattens against the wall of the artery. After this is done, the balloon is deflated and removed along with the catheter. The stent to the heart is left behind. The artery gradually heals and body tissue merges with the stent to the heart.
In recent years, a drug-eluting stent (DES) is used at times. In such cases, the stent is coated with medication that prevents plaque formation over the stent.
What are the Different Types of Coronary Stents?
- Bare metal stent to the heart - Such stents are made up of stainless steel with no special coating. They help in opening up the blocked artery.
- Drug Eluting Stent (DES) - These are coated with medication which releases once the stent is placed in the blocked artery. They help in the prevention of re-blocking of the artery.
- Bio-engineered stent to the heart - These stents facilitate rapid healing process reducing the risk of blood clots. Such stents are also called antibody-coated stent.
- Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold- Such is a special type of DES which is coated with a drug that is absorbed by the body and disappears over time.
- Dual Therapy Stent (DTS) - This is the latest type of stent to the heart which not only reduces the risk of re-narrowing of the artery but also helps with the healing process of the artery. DTS is coated inside as well as outside which reduces the formation of blood clots and helps in the healing process.
What are the Benefits of Coronary Stenting?
The primary benefit of stent to the heart is the improvement of oxygenated blood flow to the heart muscles. This reduces symptoms of CHD like chest pain, shortness of breath and so on. Stent to the heart also reduces the need for a coronary bypass surgery which is a more invasive procedure than the former.