What Is a Stent?
Image Caption : Stent in Left Coronary Artery : The heart shown in this image has had a stent placed in the left coronary artery. Stents are tiny coils of wire mesh used to open up blocked arteries in a medical procedure called an angioplasty. They are often inserted laparoscopically, feeding wires up to the coronary arteries through arteries elsewhere in the body that are more accessible, without having to open the patient's chest. Stents are specially engineered to fit various diameters of arteries, allowing an individualized fit. Once in place, the previously blocked artery is now equipped with a miniature scaffolding to hold it open and allow blood to easily flow through.
What Is a Stent?
A stent is a small mesh tube that's used to treat narrow or weak arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood away from your heart to other parts of your body.
A stent is placed in an artery as part of a procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), also known as coronary angioplasty. PCI restores blood flow through narrow or blocked arteries. A stent helps support the inner wall of the artery in the months or years after PCI.
Doctors also may place stents in weak arteries to improve blood flow and help prevent the arteries from bursting.
Stents usually are made of metal mesh, but sometimes they're made of fabric. Fabric stents, also called stent grafts, are used in larger arteries.
Some stents are coated with medicine that is slowly and continuously released into the artery. These stents are called drug-eluting stents. The medicine helps prevent the artery from becoming blocked again.
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute / NIH
The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Consult a licensed medical professional for the diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions and before starting a new diet or exercise program. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.