Overview of cardiac stent
A cardiac stent is a tiny tube that can play a big role in treating heart disease. It helps keep your arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body, including the heart muscle itself open.
Most stents are made out of wire mesh and are permanent. Some are made out of fabric. These are called stent-grafts and are often used for larger arteries.
Others are made of a material that dissolves and that your body absorbs over time. They’re coated in medicine that slowly releases into your artery to prevent it from being blocked again.
Why do I need a cardiac stent?
If a fatty substance called plaque builds up inside an artery, it can reduce blood flow to your hart. This is called coronary heart disease and it can cause chest pain.
The plaque can also cause a blood clot that blocks blood flow to your heart, which may lead to a heart attack.
By keeping an artery open, stents lower your risk of chest pain. They can also treat a heart attack that’s in progress.
Stents can also help prevent aneurysms in your brain, aorta, or other blood vessels from rupturing.
In addition to blood vessels, stents can open in any of the following ways:
- Bile ducts are the ducts that carry bile to and from the digestive organs.
- The trachea, are the small airways in the lungs for air.
- Tubes carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.
Types of cardiac stents
First-generation stents were made of bare metal. Although they almost eliminated the risk of the artery collapsing, they only modestly reduced the risk of re-narrowing. About a quarter of all coronary arteries treated with bare-metal stents would close up again, usually in about 6 months.
So doctors and companies began testing stents coated with drugs that interrupted the re-narrowing. These are called drug-eluting stents.
What are the benefits of a cardiac stent?
The cardiac stent has a positive effect on the quality of life. The combination of angioplasty and stenting can be life-saving, especially when done after a heart attack.
This will significantly improve your blood flow and prevent further damage to the heart muscle. It also improves symptoms of heart disease such as chest pain (angina) and shortness of breath. In many cases, you will experience immediate benefits.
In some cases, stenting eliminates the need for coronary bypass surgery. Stenting is much less invasive than bypass surgery. Recovery time is also very short. It only takes a few days to recover from stenting, while it may take six weeks or more to recover from bypass surgery.
Whether or not you are a good candidate for stenting depends on many factors, including the number of blocked arteries and other conditions you may have.
How is a cardiac stent inserted?
Your doctor can insert a heart stent under local anaesthesia. First, they make small incisions in the groin, arm, or neck. Then they inserted the catheter with the stent and the balloon at the tip.
They use special dyes and monitors to guide the catheter into the narrowed or blocked coronary artery through the blood vessels. When they reach a narrow or blocked area, they inflate the balloon. It dilates the stent and dilates your artery, increasing blood flow. Finally, your doctor will remove the balloon, remove the catheter, and leave the stent.
During this process, the filter plate and blood clot loosen and float freely in the bloodstream. After the procedure, you will need to take medicine to prevent clots from forming inside the stent. As your artery begins to heal, your own tissue begins to fuse with the mesh of the stent, strengthening your artery.
Sometimes a specific type of stent called a drug-eluting stent (DES) is used. It is coated with medication to reduce the risk of restenosis. Restenosis occurs when your artery narrows again.
What are the risks for a cardiac stent?
As with many medical procedures, you may experience an allergic reaction to the medications or substances used for angioplasty and stenting. Angioplasty can cause bleeding, damage to blood vessels or the heart, or even an irregular heartbeat. Other potential but rare complications such as heart attack, kidney failure, and stroke.
After the procedure, scar tissue forms inside your stent. If that happens, a second approach is needed to clear it up. There is also a risk of blood clots forming on your stent. You need to take medicine to prevent this.
What happens during angioplasty?
Angioplasty may be done as part of your stay in a hospital. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your doctor’s practices. Most people who have angioplasty and stent placement are monitored overnight in the hospital.
What are the complications with inserting a stent?
Any surgical procedure carries risks. Stent insertion requires access to the arteries of the heart or brain. This increases the risk of adverse effects.
Disadvantages associated with cardiac stent:
- Allergic reaction to drugs used in the process.
- Breathing problems due to anaesthesia or the use of a stent in the windpipe.
- Blockage of the artery
- Blood clots
- Myocardial infarction
- Vessel infection
- Narrowing of the back of the artery.
Some problems with the cardiac stent have been reported, but there is a small chance that the body will reject the stent. You should discuss this risk with your doctor. Stents contain metal parts and some people are allergic or sensitive to metals. If someone is sensitive to metal, stent manufacturers recommend that the stent not be placed. Talk to your doctor for more information.
If you have bleeding problems, your doctor should evaluate you. Generally, you should discuss these issues with your doctor. They can provide you with up-to-date information regarding your personal problems.
Very often, the damage caused by stent failure is overcome. Limited blood flow or blocked vessels can have serious and deadly consequences.