Angioplasty & Stent
What is an angioplasty?
An angioplasty is a procedure to address blockages in an artery of the heart (coronary artery). At the time of a cardiac catheterization, patients who are found to have blockages in the artery of their heart can undergo treatment by having those blockages opened with a balloon. This procedure is also called a percutaneous coronary intervention.
This procedure is normally performed immediately after the angiogram. During angioplasty a small wire (0.014 inch) is placed into the affected artery and across the blockage. A balloon is then advanced over the wire and inflated at the site of the blockage to open a passage way for blood flow. Normally, a stent is then inserted to provide a scaffold to prevent the plaque or blockage from recoiling and re-narrowing the blood vessel.
What is a stent?
A stent is a wire mesh that is inserted in the artery of a heart after the blockage has been opened. The purpose of the stent is to keep the artery open after the blockage has been opened. The two types of available stents are either drug eluting or non-drug eluting. The drug eluting stents are imbedded with a medication to prevent scar tissue from growing inside the stent. These stents may be more likely to clot and therefore require long term treatment with a blood thinner called Plavix. Non drug eluting stents are less likely to clot but are prone to scar tissue formation and the need for another procedure within six months. Your physician will decide what type of stent is best for you depending upon your other medical issues and the characteristic of the blockage.Some stents are coated with medications to prevent scar tissue from growing inside the stent and are called "drug-eluting stents".
Who is a candidate for an angioplasty/stent?
Patients who have undergone a catheterization and discovered that there are blockages in the arteries of the heart may benefit from having the blockages opened and a stent placed to keep the artery open. Angioplasty and stent placement can frequently improve symptoms of chest pain that come from coronary artery disease.
Where else can I find information:
Additional information can be found at www.cardiosmart.org.