If your physician is talking about a stent, you most likely have coronary heart disease. That means that an artery to your heart is blocked with plaque or cholesterol and blood is not flowing as it should. If you are planning to have surgery, here are 5 things to know before getting a heart stent.
Know What A Stent Is And Its Purpose
A stent is a small expandable mesh tube used to open passages in your body like narrow or weak arteries. It is usually mesh and permanent. Sometimes it can be made of fabric or coated in medicine which will prevent future blockages.
It has the following purposes:
- To open narrow arteries
- To reduce your symptoms like chest pain
- To treat a heart attack
Know The Procedure
A stent is normally put in place after an angioplasty is performed. This is done with local anesthetic and mild sedation. During this procedure a catheter is placed usually in the groin and moves through the body to the place of the narrow artery. A balloon is inflated to open the artery, but sometimes the stent is placed inside before the balloon inflates. The stent will keep the artery open.
In many cases the stent is mounted on the balloon and put into the blood vessel. The stent expands when the balloon is inflated and gets locked into place to form a permanent structure to hold the artery open after the balloon is deflated and removed.
This can be done as an emergency situation.
Once the stent is in place, the catheter is removed. You will usually remain in the hospital overnight or sometimes longer depending on your condition.
Know About The Benefits
Compared to a heart bypass surgery, placement of a stent after angioplasty is much less invasive, there is less discomfort, and expect a much shorter recovery time.
Know About The Risks
There is less than a 1% chance of a heart attack during the procedure and a 1% chance of arterial bleeding, both very small chances of a complication.
Some of the other possible risks include the following:
- Blood clot forming in the blood vessel or other areas
- Infection or bleeding at the site of catheter insertion
- Irregular heartbeat
Know The Prognosis
Placing a stent does not cure coronary heart disease, but there will be less pain and better blood flow.
Overall this whole procedure is extremely safe and is a lifesaving treatment.
Talk with New Jersey Cardiology Associates about any additional risks you might encounter with your condition.
Call us at one of our locations to schedule an appointment.