How does it work and what is a coronary stent?
A coronary angioplasty, also known as percutaneous coronary intervention, is a procedure that seeks to open the heart arteries that are clogged due to arteriosclerosis. It is done to avoid risks, as it could result in angina or even myocardial infarction.
During this procedure, a coronary stent is used, a prosthesis that has a cylindrical metal mesh placed on a balloon that, when inflated on the obstruction, allows the artery diameter to be recovered and blood circulation to be normalized.
What is a coronary angioplasty with a stent?
Thanks to angioplasty, it is possible to improve the symptoms caused by blocked arteries, this includes chest pain and shortness of breath, and, in case of a heart attack, it can quickly open the blocked artery, greatly reducing damage to the heart.
This procedure is performed in the hemodynamic unit by placing the coronary stent through the clogged artery. Once the exact point of the blockage is identified, a small balloon is dilated expanding the stent, allowing the artery obstruction to be removed and, thanks to the characteristics of the mesh, minimizing the risks of subsequent re-occlusion.
Different types of coronary stent
Coronary stents can be classified into three categories, based on each patient’s clinical characteristics which may include diabetes, bleeding risk, coronary lesions, and more.
- Conventional stent.
Made of steel or chrome-cobalt, it is the most economical stent and, therefore, it may allow a new obstruction. A timely control is necessary to prevent stent thrombosis (clots).
- Drug-eluting stent.
It is coated with antiproliferative drugs to slowly release a drug that minimizes the risk of obstruction. Due to their characteristics, they usually require longer treatment with antiplatelet agents.
- Bioabsorbable drug-eluting stent.
The structure of the coronary stent is made up of a material that is reabsorbed over time and completely disappears from the arterial wall. It has some limitations, so it can only be used in certain cases.
How long does a coronary stent last?
Generally, a coronary stent is implanted to be for life, for which it does not have an expiration date and it is not contemplated to change them either. Despite the above, there is always a risk of clogging.
Currently, the latest generation stents, together with modern medications, have decreased the rate of new obstructions.
If this happens, the current coronary stent would not be removed, but a new catheterization would be performed to dilate it once more or even a second stent could be implanted inside the first one, this will be decided by the attending physician according to each patient’s conditions.
At the ABC Medical Center’s Cardiovascular Center, we can provide you with specialized care. Contact us!