Angioplasty is done to open the blockage in the coronary artery, which is supplying blood to your heart. Sometimes the angioplasty is often combined with the stent placement.
The stent is a tiny metal mesh tube that gets expanded to keep the artery open when inserted inside the blocked artery. Stents can be placed during or immediately after the angioplasty. Stents are usually coated with some kind of drug that prevents the artery from closing again.
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What Is The Need Of Stent?
Excess fat and cholesterol get deposited on the coronary artery wall, thus making it narrower and harder than normal. This condition is known as atherosclerosis. This, in turn, restricts blood flow to the heart leading to coronary artery disease.
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A stent is usually placed during an emergency when medications don’t seem to be helpful in treating coronary artery disease. Apart from opening the blocked arteries, stents can also be used to remove the blockage from bile ducts, ureters, and bronchi.
Angioplasty and stent placement is usually done to cure:
- Blocked coronary artery during a heart attack or after it
- One or more blocked coronary artery that may lead to heart failure
- Blockages that are causing severe chest pain due to improper blood flow
What Is Done Before Placing A Stent?
Before placing the stent, the doctor will assure the following things:
- Tell your doctor if you are taking any other prescribed medications or herbal supplements
- Before going for the surgery, do not take any medicine like aspirin, clopidogrel, ibuprofen, and naproxen that cause difficulty in blood clotting.
- Stop smoking if you are a smoker
- Tell your doctor if you are suffering from an illness like a cold or flu.
- Also, tell him if you are suffering from any other chronic health conditions.
- Take all the medicines prescribed by your doctor.
- Don’t consume any fluids or drink water the night before the surgery.
- Follow all the other instructions given by your doctor.
If you are suffering from any bleeding disorders, then extra precaution is needed to be taken to prevent any complications during and after the surgery.
How Stent Placement Is Done?
The stent is usually placed by using the minimally invasive procedure. However, there are other ways also to carry out the procedure. The doctor will make a small cut at the site and with the help of a catheter insert the specialized tools through your blood vessels to the site of stent placement.
The cut is usually made in the groin or the arm. Sometimes the doctor may carry out the angiogram technique that aids in placing the stent to the required site. Normally, a camera is placed at the tip of the catheter, which helps see the blockages in the blood vessels and aids in placing the stent to the blocked area. Once the stent gets installed, the doctor removes the catheter and all other tools and then seals the cut.
What Are The Risks Associated With Stent Placement?
Although every surgery carries some side effects or risks, stent placement can lead to the following adverse health complications:
- Allergic reaction to few drugs or the dye used for coating the stent
- Bleeding or clotting at the incision site
- Infection at the site from where the catheter is placed
- Difficulty in breathing
- Blood clots
- Heart attack
- Recurrence of blockage
- Infection in blood vessel
- Blockage in the inside of the stent
- Damaged heart valve or blood vessel
- Irregular heartbeat
- In rare cases, seizures and strokes can be seen
Despite these complications, the chances of rejection of a stent are quite rare. As normally stents are made up of metals, manufacturers mostly recommend the patients not to use these metal stents if they have any kind of allergy towards the metal
What Happens After The Stent Placement?
After the surgery, you may have to rest in the intensive care unit for one or two days to monitor you for any complications. In case, if you get a heart attack or stroke, you may need to stay in the hospital for a long time. In addition, you may feel itching at the site where the cut is made. Stent placement may also lead to blood clotting, which anticoagulant medications can prevent.
To prevent the recurrence of the blockage, the doctor will suggest to you the following necessary lifestyle changes:
- Exercise regularly. But after the surgery, rest for some time and start the exercise only after consulting your doctor.
- Having a healthy and balanced diet
- Take small meals. Avoid taking fatty food items. Include green vegetables, fibrous fruits and other healthy food items.
- Reduce the excess weight if you are overweight
- Quit smoking
- Manage stress
- Avoid lifting heavy objects and rigorous work
- Avoid taking alcohol