The process of placing stents has become quite common. In today’s world, most angioplasty procedures are done using stents. In some patients, stents reduce the narrowing of the arteries that sometimes occur after balloon angioplasty or other methods of catheterization process. Patients who have angioplasty along with stent placement recover from these procedures much faster than patients who have coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG). The discomfort is also quite minimal in comparison to a fully-fledged bypass surgery.
Why Would You Need A Stent In Your Heart?
Stents are essentially required to open blocked blood vessels unable to deliver blood to the organs of the body. A stent is a small mesh tube that is inserted into the artery to remove the blockage and is left there permanently to keep the blood flow steady. According to the medical rules, a stent is required to widen the blocked artery when there is at least 70% of blockage detected.
A coronary stent is attached to a balloon catheter. It is guided to the area of blockage through an incision made on the patient’s groin area or arm. On reaching the blocked area, the balloon is inflated. Due to the inflation, the stent expands, locks in place and forms a scaffold. This helps to keep the artery open. The stent is left in the artery permanently because it holds the artery open. This improves blood flow to the heart muscle by removing the restriction formed due to deposition of plaque. It relieves the patient from the symptoms of coronary artery disease (usually chest pain). Various types of Stents are used depending on certain features of the artery blockage. Few factors that affect whether a stent can be used include the size of the artery and where the blockage is.
How to Take Care After The Stent Placement?
Angioplasty and stent placement is an invasive procedure and thus proper observation of the patient is mandatory. The patient probably has to remain hospitalized for one day while his heart is monitored and his medications are planned and adjusted. The patient generally should be able to return to work or get back to his normal routine the week after angioplasty. If the patient had to undergo an angioplasty along with stenting during a heart attack, his hospital stay and recovery period would probably be longer. After the discharge of patient from the hospital, few procedures should be followed:
- Patient is asked to drink plenty of water so that the contrast medium which is the iodine dye is flushed out through urine.
- Patient is not advised to indulge in strenuous activities until the incision heals properly.
- Patient may be given blood thinning medicines and he should have them regularly as advised.
What are The Types of Coronary Stents Available?
- Bare Metal Stent- Such stents are made up of stainless steel with no coatings as such. They just help in opening up the blocked artery.
- Drug Eluting Stent (DES) – These stents are coated with medication which releases once the stent is placed in the blocked artery. They help prevent re-blocking of the artery.
- Bio-engineered Stent- These stents facilitate rapid healing process reducing the risk of blood clots. Such stents are coated with some antibodies.
- Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold- Such is a special type of DES which is coated with a medicine that is absorbed by the body and disappears over time.
- Dual Therapy Stent (DTS) – This is the latest type of coronary stent which not only reduces the risk of blockage 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.