A stent is a small tube that doctors place in an artery or channel to keep blood vessels open and restore the flow of body fluids in the area. Stents help relieve blockages and treat narrow or weak arteries. The doctor can also insert stents in other areas of the body to support blood vessels in the brain or channels that carry urine and bile.
Stents are usually in the form of metal tubes such as nets. Fabric stents are also available. Sometimes, the doctor will use a soluble stent that is coated with medicine as a temporary solution.
In this article, learn about why doctors use stents , as well as the benefits and its possible risks.
Use of stents in case of heart surgery:
Stents can open blood vessels with plaque blockage. One of the most common uses for stents is to open blood vessels that have plaque blockage. Plaque is a buildup of cholesterol, fat, and other substances found in the blood. When this plaque collects in the bloodstream, it sticks to the artery walls.
Over time, this buildup narrows the arteries, limiting the amount of fresh blood that can reach the body. Plaque buildup in the arteries is a cause of coronary heart disease. People with narrowed arteries may begin to notice warning symptoms such as chest pain. If people with this condition do not receive treatment, they may have a higher risk of complications such as a heart attack or stroke.
If the arteries are at risk of collapsing or clogging up again, your doctor may recommend inserting a stent to keep it open.
The doctor inserts a stent into the artery in a procedure known as Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), or angioplasty with a stent. During PCI, the doctor will insert a catheter into the artery. The catheter has a small balloon with a stent around it.
When the catheter reaches the blockage point, the doctor will inflate the balloon. Afterwards, the stent expands and locks into place. The doctor will then remove the catheter, leaving the stent in place to keep the artery open.
A doctor will decide whether to insert a stent based on several factors such as the size of the artery and where the blockage occurs.
Risks of Using Stents in Case of Heart Surgery
The heart is the most vital organ of the human body. One of the most common health problems is coronary artery blockage. One of the solutions is by installing a heart ring (stent). The doctor inserts a stent into the artery in a procedure known as Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), or angioplasty with a stent. During PCI, the doctor will insert a catheter into the artery. The catheter has a small balloon with a stent around it.
A surgeon can explain the risks and benefits of PCI. It carries a small risk of complications, which include:
- bleeding from the catheter placement
- an infection
- allergic reaction
- damage to the arteries due to catheter insertion
- kidney damage
- irregular heartbeat
In some cases, restenosis can occur. Restenosis is when too much tissue grows around the stent. This can narrow or block the arteries again. The doctor can recommend a form of radiation therapy or choose to insert a drug-coated stent to slow tissue growth.
People at risk of complications include:
- people who experience heart failure during the procedure
- people with extensive heart disease and blockages in the arteries
- people who suffers from chronic kidney disease
Stents can cause blood clots, which can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute states that about 1 to 2 percent of people who have stent arteries develop blood clots at the stent site.
Doctors can also use stents to:
- blood vessels in the brain or aorta that are at risk of aneurysm
- bronchi in the lungs that are at risk of collapse
- ureter, which carries urine from the kidney to the bladder
- bile duct, which carries bile between the organ and small intestine
The doctor will usually prescribe one or more drugs to prevent clotting. Anti-clotting drugs can carry their own risks and can cause irritating side effects such as rashes.
In rare cases, a person's body can reject a stent, or they may have an allergic reaction to the material in the stent. Anyone who has a known reaction to the metal should talk to their doctor about alternatives.
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