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|You & Your Stent” is provided compliments of Daiichi Sankyo/Eli Lilly in Partnership with SCAI. Copyright © 2013 Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. and Lilly USA, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
After a blocked artery is treated with angioplasty to restore blood flow, the artery may become blocked again. This is called restenosis. One way to prevent restenosis is to place a stent inside the artery at the spot where the blockage was cleared by angioplasty.
A stent is a tiny, metal mesh tube that is placed with a catheter and permanently embedded within the artery wall to prop open and prevent it from collapsing. Your doctor may choose one three types of stents depending on the size of the artery and the location of the blockage and other factors specific to your condition.
Types of Stents
- Bare metal stents (BMS) – While some arteries can be successfully treated with bare metal stents, other arteries held open with bare metal stents may have an increased rate of re-narrowing due to growth of scar tissue in the stent.
- Drug-eluting stents (DES) – These stents were developed to combat the re-narrowing that developed after bare metal stent implantation. These stents are coated with medications that are slowly released to minimize the body's ability to form scar tissue around the stent. The medication is delivered directly to the site of the artery blockage.
- Bioabsorbable (also known as Bioresorbable) stents – Not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but approved for use in Europe and in clinical trials in the United States, these stents are absorbed into the body after the artery wall has healed. In addition to other possible benefits, these stents may eliminate the need for to medications to prevent blood clots (thromboses) from forming in the stent.
Stent technology is being continually advanced, as scientists and engineers pursue ways to develop new devices and better options available for the treatment of patients with heart disease.
What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Stents?
If your doctor recommends a stent and you’re not sure if it’s right for you, you can learn more by asking some questions such as these at your next appointment. We invite you to print out this list and take it with you to your next doctor visit.
- What type of stent do I have, and how will it change my life?
- Will getting a stent save my life?
- What are the benefits and risks of stenting for me?
- What are my alternatives? Could I be treated with medicines instead of a stent?
- What follow-up is necessary after the procedure? What do I need to do?
- What medicines will I need to take? For how long?
- Can you help me with my concerns about medicines (side effects, financial cost, etc.)?
- What lifestyle changes should I be making?
- Do I still need to exercise and eat right after having a stent?
- Would I benefit from being referred to cardiac rehabilitation?
What Should I Do If I Have More Questions?
Ask them. Your heart health is of vital importance. Getting complete information can help you determine if the best treatment for you. Also, be sure to thoroughly answer any questions your interventional cardiologist may ask of you, and tell your care team about any medications you are taking or other conditions you have.
If you have already had a stent placed, asking questions is a key step in reducing the risk of future complications. A discussion with your interventional cardiologist can help you with taking medications appropriately, getting adequate follow-up and getting the help you need to have a heart-healthy future.