Heart Stents Save Lives
A stent is a small metal coil or mesh tube that is placed in a narrowed artery to hold it open. Stents in the heart help improve blood flow and some even release medication over a period of time. This reduces the amount of scar tissue that forms inside the artery, helping to prevent restenosis (renarrowing).
Before the Procedure
- Before your procedure, your doctor will advise you on when to stop eating or drinking before the procedure.
- Your doctor will also advise you on which medicines you should and shouldn’t take on the day of the stenting.
During the Procedure
- A stent, which comes mounted on a balloon-tipped catheter, is delivered to the blockage in your artery.
- The balloon is then inflated, causing the stent to expand.
- The expanded stent further compresses the plaque in the artery against the arterial wall—thus increasing the blood flow to the heart muscle.
After the Procedure
- You may need to keep still, with your leg or arm straight, for 2 to 6 hours. How long depends on where the catheter was inserted and how the site was closed.
- If the insertion site was in your groin, you may be required to lie down with your leg still for several hours.
- A nurse will check your blood pressure and the insertion site.
- You may be asked to drink fluid to help flush the contrast liquid out of your system.
- An adult family member or friend will need to drive you home from the hospital.
- It’s normal to find a small bruise or lump at the insertion site. This should disappear within a few weeks.