What You Need to Know:
Coronary intravascular stent placement is a procedure to place a stent in a blocked or narrowed artery of your heart. A stent is a small mesh tube made of metal that helps keep your artery open. The procedure may be done during or after angioplasty. The stent remains in your artery for life. You may need more than one stent.
Preparing for Coronary Intravascular Stent Placement
Your healthcare provider may order blood tests and a stress test before your procedure. Talk to your healthcare provider about these or other tests you may need. Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for your procedure. You may be told not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your procedure. You will be told what medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure.
Contrast liquid will be used during your procedure to help healthcare providers see your heart better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Arrange to have someone drive you home when you leave the hospital.
You may be given an antibiotic through your IV to help prevent a bacterial infection. You will be given medicine in your IV to help you relax or make you drowsy. You will also get local anesthesia that will numb the area where the catheter will be placed. You will be awake during the procedure so healthcare providers can give you instructions. You may be asked to cough, hold your breath, or tell them how you feel during the procedure.
A catheter (long, thin tube) will be put into an artery in your wrist, groin or neck. The catheter will be gently guided through this artery to your heart and into the narrowed or blocked artery. Healthcare providers will use x-rays and contrast liquid to find the area where the stent needs to be placed. You may feel warm as the contrast liquid is put into the catheter. This feeling should go away quickly.
A guidewire will then be placed into the catheter. The balloon catheter will be guided into the narrowed or blocked artery with the guidewire. Healthcare providers will inflate the balloon several times for short periods. The inflated balloon pushes the plaque against the artery walls. This opens them and allows more blood flow to your heart. Another balloon catheter with a stent is then inserted into the artery. The balloon is inflated. This expands the stent and pushes it into place against the artery wall. Your healthcare provider may place a bare metal stent or a drug-eluting stent (DES) in your artery. A DES is coated with medicine that is slowly released. The medicine helps prevent more plaque buildup. The stent will be left in your artery to help keep it open.
After Your Procedure
The catheter and guidewire will be taken out of the artery and a pressure bandage will be put on the area. Your healthcare provider may apply a collagen plug or other closure device to stop the bleeding. Healthcare providers will put pressure on the bandaged area to help stop the bleeding.
You will be taken to a room to rest. Healthcare providers will monitor you closely for any problems. You will then be taken to your hospital room. You may need to lie still for three to six hours after the procedure to prevent bleeding. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay.
Although Major Complications Are Uncommon the Risks Include
- Damage to the treated blood vessel
- Complete closure of the blood vessel
- Blood clots
- Heart attack
- Kidney damage due to contrast used for imaging
Stenting, like angioplasty, is a minimally invasive alternative to coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery. Because of this, there is a lower risk of complications than in CABG. Patients are typically able to leave the hospital the next day – a much shorter recovery than after CABG surgery. After getting a stent, people can often return to their normal activities quickly. In addition, with stenting:
- You don’t need major surgery
- Most patients do not require general anesthesia
- Major complications are uncommon
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