Heart disease is a dangerous yet common condition that impacts millions of Americans. The good news is that heart disease can be treated without complicated surgeries. The non-surgical option is called angioplasty, and it works to open the blood vessels that have been narrowed or blocked and can no longer supply enough blood to the heart. Angioplasty is often accompanied by the placement of a stent, which serves to keep the artery open permanently. Could you benefit from this procedure? Here is what you should know!
Stents are made of wire mesh stainless steel tubes. When a stent is inserted into the artery, it holds the artery open and ultimately becomes a permanent piece of the artery. Each stent is inserted by a doctor using a catheter that is inserted into an artery in the groin, arm, or leg. Using a special dye injected into the blood so it’s visible on a television monitor, the doctor guides the catheter and stent to the site of the artery blockage, inflates the artery walls, and places the stent inside.
Why Are Stents Used?
Stents only become necessary when a person’s arteries have accumulated such a high level of fatty deposits that blood flow causes pain and risks becoming blocked all together. The fatty deposit also has the potential to break off into pieces and instigate the formation of a clot that triggers a stroke or heart attack. By opening the blockage and keeping it open permanently, a stent achieves smooth blood flow and minimizes potential problems.
During and After the Procedure
The procedure is not a surgery, although it is usually done during or after an angioplasty. You may feel some discomfort when the doctor inflates the balloon to place the stent inside your artery, but the pain disappears as soon as the balloon is deflated. It’s necessary to remain in bed for at least 12 hours after the procedure to ensure everything sets correctly and your body has time to recover. Once your doctor clears you, your stent will help you lead a healthier and more comfortable life!