Coronary stents are stainless steel structures that are used to hold open the internal wall of a coronary artery. By expanding the metal against the wall of an artery, the space inside the vessel can be maintained. Providence is currently using many different types of intra-coronary stents. Stents are used as primary therapy for narrowed coronary arteries. Abrupt closure of a coronary artery can lead to continued lack of blood flow and even emergency coronary artery bypass surgery. By utilizing stents, this situation can possibly be avoided.
When the procedure is completed, you recover on a monitored floor where your progress is watched closely by your specialized cardiac care group. Most often, patients are sent home from the hospital within 24 hours.
In the United States, approximately 800,000 angioplasty procedures are performed each year to open clogged coronary arteries. In most cases, a stent is left permanently in place after angioplasty to keep the artery open. In 15% to 30% of cases, however, the artery and stent become clogged again within a year, requiring another angioplasty or bypass surgery.
In some cases, drug-eluting stents can help prevent restenosis. The new stents are impregnated with a drug (sirolimus) that is slowly released from the stent to prevent the build-up of tissue that eventually re-clogs the artery. The new, drug-coated stents are very effective for patients who meet specific medical guidelines.