What Is a Stent

By Medically reviewed by Hello Doktor Medical Panel

What Is a Stent?

Doctors usually insert a very small tube into a vessel that is blocked to keep it open; that tube is a stent. A stent’s main function is to restore the blood flow or the flow of some other fluids, depending on the location of the stent.

Stents can be made of metal mesh, plastic, or sometimes a specialized fabric for larger arteries, and are commonly used for treating narrow or weak arteries. In addition to preventing arteries from bursting, stents also contribute to bettering the blood flow.

Some stents are also coated with medicine, the mission of which is to prevent the artery from developing blockage again.

Why Are Stents So Useful?

The importance of stents is clearer than ever when a blood vessel is blocked by plague, a combination of cholesterol and some other substances that stick to the walls of a vessel.

A stent can be needed in course of an emergency procedure, especially when a coronary artery is blocked. By inserting a catheter into the blocked coronary artery, doctors are able to do a balloon angioplasty to clear the blockage. A stent will subsequently be put in the artery.  With the presence of the stent, the vessel can remain open.

The stents exhibit many a benefit such as opening arteries, decreasing symptoms, such as chest pain, and helping you deal with a heart attack. Stents used for these conditions are also known as heart stents.

Stents also prove their splendid use when there occurs an aneurysm in your brain.

In addition to blood vessels, stents can also be used to open tubes that can similarly be blocked such as:

  • Bile ducts
  • Bronchi
  • Ureters

Preparing for a Stent

You should take these steps to prepare for a stent in a blood vessel:

  • List drugs, supplements or herbs that you are taking to your doctor
  • Avoid consuming drugs that can potentially cause blood clot. These drugs include aspirin, ibuprofen, clopidogrel
  • Adhere to your doctor’s advice and instruction
  • If you smoke, quit it
  • List illnesses that you are having
  • Do not drink water or any other fluids the night before the surgery
  • Take medication as exactly prescribed by your doctor before and after the surgery

How Is a Stent Performed?

The doctor will make a small incision and use a catheter to guide specialized tools through your blood vessels to reach the area requiring a stent. The incision often locates in the groin or arm. One of the tools can be equipped with a tiny camera to support the process of guiding the stent. In course of procedure, an imaging technique, which is called angiogram, may also be needed to aid your doctor in guiding the stent through the vessel.

After locating the broken or block vessel, you doctor will install the stent. All of the instruments will then be taken out of your body and doctors will close the incision.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Review Date: August 11, 2017 | Last Modified: December 19, 2019

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