A stent is a small metal coil or mesh tube that is placed in a narrowed artery to hold it open, which helps improve blood flow to your heart. The stent also helps reduce the rate of restenosis (re-narrowing) of the artery. Some stents slowly release medication over a period of time. This reduces the amount of scar tissue that forms inside the artery, helping to prevent restenosis.
During the Procedure
- A stent, which comes mounted on a balloon-tipped catheter, is delivered to the blockage in your artery.
- The balloon is then inflated, causing the stent to expand.
- The expanded stent further compresses the plaque against the arterial wall, increasing the blood flow to the heart muscle.
After the Procedure
- You may need to keep still, with your leg or arm straight, for 2-6 hours. How long depends partly on where the catheter was inserted and how the site was closed.
- If the insertion site was in your groin, you may need to lie down with your leg still for several hours.
- A nurse will check your blood pressure and the insertion site.
- You may be asked to drink fluid to help flush the contrast liquid out of your system.
- Have someone drive you home from the hospital.
- It’s normal to find a small bruise or lump at the insertion site. This should disappear within a few weeks.
When to Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:
- Angina (a feeling of pain, pressure, aching, tingling, or burning in the chest, back, neck, throat, jaw, arms, or shoulders).
- Increasing pain, swelling, redness, bleeding, or drainage at the insertion site
- Severe pain, coldness, or a bluish color in the leg or arm that held the catheter
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty urinating or blood in your urine
- Fever over 101 F.