Understanding the Stent Placement Process

The process of a stent placement, which requires threading mesh wire into tiny blood vessels, might seem almost impossible to believe. But it’s a relatively common practice that most cardiovascular specialists are experts at — which is a good thing, because stents can save the lives of people who need them. 

If you’re curious about the stent placement process, our experts at Lakewood Cardiovascular Consultants explain it all below.  

What is a stent?

A stent is a tiny tube made of mesh wire. It props open your arteries when they become clogged, damaged, or narrowed due to the buildup of plaque on the interior walls. When plaque builds up inside your arteries, it can impede blood flow, which can lead to serious health complications, including chest pain in minor cases and heart attacks in severe cases.

How is a stent placed? 

The stent placement process is simpler than you might think, and it’s a minimally invasive procedure. It involves three basic steps: 

  1. Your doctor inserts a tube with a balloon on it (balloon catheter) into your blocked artery. The stent, in its deflated or collapsed form, is also on the catheter.
  2. Once the catheter reaches the blockage, your doctor inflates the balloon to open up the artery. This also expands the stent so that it pushes against the walls of your arteries. 
  3. After the stent is expanded and lodged in place, your doctor deflates the balloon and threads the catheter out of your artery. 

With the stent in place, blood can flow more freely, reducing chest pain and lowering your risk for a heart attack. 

Who needs a stent?

There is some debate over who needs stents and who doesn’t. Some cardiovascular experts will argue that almost everyone with an artery blockage can benefit from a stent, while others reserve the procedure for patients who have had a heart attack (stent placement can be life-saving during a heart attack). 

Determining whether or not a stent is right for you requires an in-depth discussion with your heart doctor, plus a medical history and possibly imaging tests or other exams. Your provider at Lakewood Cardiovascular Consultants can help you work through this process.

If you have any additional questions about stent placement or heart health in general, contact us by calling 941-404-7958 or sending a message to our team through our messaging platform. To schedule an appointment, give us a call or book online. 

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