Stenting has a favorable impact on many patients’ quality of life. It can save a person’s life, especially if done soon after a heart attack. It can help improve the blood flow and prevent further damage to the heart muscle. It can also help prevent angina (chest discomfort), plaque buildup and significantly reduce the chances of a heart attack.
Stenting helps eliminate the need for coronary bypass surgery under certain circumstances. Compared to bypass surgery, stenting is substantially less intrusive. The recovery time is also comparatively less. Recovery after stenting takes only a few days, whereas, in the case of bypass surgery, it might take up to six weeks or more.
What is a heart stent?
A heart stent is a tube that is placed in the blocked passage of your heart to unclog it and resume normal blood flow. The stent helps blood and other critical body fluids to flow without hindrance. Stents are made of metal, plastic, or specialized fabric. Larger stents are called stent grafts and are used for larger arteries. However, stents used in coronary procedures are small, auto-expanding metal tubes. These stents can be coated with medicine to keep the afflicted artery from blocking up again.
What are the types of heart stents available?
There are three types of heart stents (cardiac or coronary stents) available. These are inserted into narrowed coronary arteries by a procedure known as angioplasty, or percutaneous coronary intervention, or PCI.
- Drug-Eluting Stent (DES)
Drug-Eluting Stents (DES) can be used in the peripheral or coronary arteries. It is coated with medication that is released during the procedure to prevent scar tissue from forming in the artery lining. This helps in keeping the damaged artery open and functional. It assists in reestablishing normal blood flow and lowers the chances of arterial re-narrowing or restenosis.
- Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold (BVS)
BRS (Bioresorbable Scaffold), a prominent drug-eluting type of stent, has now evolved into Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold. BVS is made up of bio-degradable polymers, which help the narrowed artery to function normally. The added advantage with BVS is that once the artery begins to function normally on its own, this stent starts dissolving. It lowers the chances of the artery narrowing again (restenosis). BRS was created to get over the limitations of metallic stents, such as vessel caging.
- Bare Metal Stent (BMS)
Bare metal stents are stainless steel stents that haven’t been coated in any way. They serve as a frame to prop open the blocked blood arteries after they have been expanded through angioplasty. As the artery heals, the tissue forms around the stent and secures it.
What are the symptoms that necessitate the use of a stent?
Here is a checklist of symptoms that might necessitate the use of a heart stent:
- Acute chest pain
- Prolonged tightness, pressure, or discomfort around the chest area
- Cold shivers and uncontrolled sweating
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness and nausea
Stents are needed during an emergency procedure when the coronary artery of the heart is blocked. A catheter will be inserted into the blocked coronary artery by your doctor. This will allow them to open the blockage with balloon angioplasty. After this procedure, they insert a stent in the narrowed artery to keep it open.
When should you seek medical attention?
Call your doctor at Apollo if you have any of the below-mentioned symptoms after a stent is placed.
- Bleeding and swelling at the point of catheter insertion after applying pressure
- Your leg or arm below the catheter has changed in color, feels cool to the touch, or is numb.
- Experiencing chest pain and shortness of breath.
- If the pulse level falls below 60 beats a minute or shoots up to 100 beats a minute or more
- You have a body temperature of over 101°F.
- You feel tired, dizzy, and cough up blood or yellow/green mucus.
Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment
Who needs a stent?
Stents are used to relieve symptoms in people with obstructive coronary artery disease. These symptoms manifest in the form of chest pain/tightness or shortness of breath during physical activities, or when undergoing stressful situations. These stents are also used in patients who have suffered a heart attack.
What are the risk factors and complications that can arise after inserting a stent?
The drugs or materials used for angioplasty and stenting may cause an adverse response in the patient. Angioplasty can potentially result in bleeding, blood vessel or heart damage, and an erratic pulse. Heart attacks, kidney failure, and stroke are other potential but uncommon problems that may arise from stenting.
Scar tissue may form around the stent after the surgery. If this happens, a second stent may be inserted to resolve this particular complication. There’s also a chance that blood clots may form around the stent.
What precautions should you take after a heart stent procedure?
Incision site care
The time it takes for a cardiac stent to heal varies from person to person. Knowing what to expect in terms of stent-related restrictions and common self-care activities after discharge from the hospital will help the patient concentrate on getting better quickly and returning to normalcy.
After a stent procedure, you will have an incision in your arm. This incision may open up and bleed, and as a result, there might be a risk of infection at the site of the incision. Make sure you keep the site clean and avoid straining. If your incision starts bleeding, apply pressure directly on the wound, use a bandage daily on the incision site till recovery and avoid taking a bath for at least a week.
Additional tips to ensure a sound recovery include:
- Avoid carrying heavy goods.
- Avoid using the stairs more than twice a day. Climb at a relaxed pace even when you use the stairs.
- Avoid sporting activities.
- Do not undertake long-distance travel without your doctor’s knowledge.
- Keep yourself hydrated. Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water a day.
- Avoid smoking and recreational drugs
- Consume a healthy diet
- Undertake physiotherapy sessions as per your doctor’s guidance.
- Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor.
A Note from Apollo Hospitals/Apollo Group
It’s important to know what to anticipate after the procedure, and plan ahead to ensure a successful recovery.
If you have any queries, you can always seek the help of Apollo doctors.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1) Is it possible to travel with a coronary stent?
Yes, patients who have a stent can travel with confidence and safety. When traveling, keep your Medical Device ID card with you because it will inform medical and security staff that you have a stent placed.
2) Is it possible that my symptoms will recur?
Yes, it is possible for your symptoms to recur, either as a result of a new blockage in the area treated with the stent or as a result of a blockage in another part of your coronary arteries.
3) Do I need to change my diet after stenting?
Your doctor may suggest dietary adjustments to help lower your risk of future cardiac episodes. Your doctor may recommend a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet to assist lower your blood fat levels and lowering your risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) progression.