Stents are tiny, expandable tubes made of metal mesh. The angioplasty procedure opens the artery, and stents are placed and expanded to fit the size, shape and bend of the artery. The stent remains in the artery after the procedure to help keep the artery open. Over time, the artery wall heals around the stent.
There are two kinds of coronary artery stents, uncoated and coated. The uncoated stent is known as bare-metal. The coated stent is called drug-eluting.
A drug-eluting stent is a bare-metal stent coated with a special drug and polymer to help reduce the chance of the artery becoming blocked again. The drug is released from the stent over a period of time when re-blockage is most likely to occur.
Both bare-metal and drug-eluting stents have been shown to be effective in reducing the chance of re-blockage of a coronary artery. The cardiologist will choose the best stent based on the needs of the patient.
It is extremely important that patients with a stent, particularly DES, should not stop taking Plavix until after seeking approval from their cardiologist.
For more specific, detailed information regarding this or any other cardiac procedure, please call the Cardiac Cath Lab at (608)775-2233 or (800) 362-9567, ext. 52233, Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-5 p.m.