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Coronary Stenting

Coronary stenting is a common treatment procedure used to open up blocked or narrowed coronary arteries. It is often performed during a coronary angiogram or angioplasty. Here’s an overview of coronary stenting:

  1. Procedure: During a coronary stenting procedure, a thin, flexible catheter with a deflated balloon at its tip is inserted into the blocked or narrowed artery. The catheter is guided to the site of the blockage using X-ray imaging. Once in place, the balloon is inflated, which pushes the plaque or fatty deposits against the arterial walls, widening the artery and restoring blood flow.
  2. Stent Placement: After the artery is widened using the balloon, a small metal mesh tube called a stent is typically placed at the site of the blockage. The stent serves as a scaffold to keep the artery open and prevent it from narrowing again. Stents are usually made of metal alloys that are biocompatible and can be coated with medications to further reduce the risk of reblockage. There are two types of stents commonly used:

    a. Bare Metal Stents (BMS): These stents are made of metal without any medication coating. They provide structural support to the artery but do not actively prevent reblockage. At present, these are not in use for treatment of coronary artery blocks.

    b. Drug-Eluting Stents (DES): These stents are coated with medications that are slowly released into the surrounding tissue to help prevent the growth of scar tissue and reduce the risk of reblockage. DES are the more commonly used stents due to their higher effectiveness in preventing reblockage.

  3. Recovery and Follow-up: After the stenting procedure, patients are usually monitored in a hospital for a short period of time to ensure there are no complications. Most people can resume their normal activities within a few days to a week, depending on their overall health and the complexity of the procedure. Medications such as antiplatelet drugs (e.g., aspirin and clopidogrel) are typically prescribed to prevent blood clots from forming around the stent. 
  4. Medications like blood thinners and cholesterol lowering drugs should be taken life long to prevent further heart attacks. 

It’s important to note that coronary stenting is a minimally invasive procedure, but like any medical intervention, it carries potential risks and complications. These may include bleeding, blood clots, damage to the artery, allergic reactions, or in rare cases, stent malfunctions and sudden death. The decision to undergo coronary stenting is based on a thorough evaluation by a healthcare professional who takes into account the individual patient’s condition, severity of blockages, and overall risk factors.

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