In a normally functioning heart, blood flows easily between the four chambers.
In some cases, the arteries — essential pathways in the heart — become blocked, usually due to plaque buildup, and normal blood flow is disrupted. Blockages are sometimes discovered during an emergency, but they also can be found during a routine cardiovascular exam.
If an artery in your heart is found to be more than 70% blocked, your physician will likely recommend that you undergo a procedure to place a stent. This is often done as part of a larger procedure called an angioplasty, a minimally invasive procedure that opens up the blockage.
What a Heart Stent Does
A heart stent is a small mesh tube used to ensure the artery opened during surgery does not close back up again.
During an angioplasty, a cardiovascular surgeon will place the stent — which is usually made of metal mesh — within the affected artery. The stent acts like a type of scaffolding to hold the passageway open and allow for normal blood flow. In some cases, the stent is coated in medication to keep the blood vessel from closing back up.
What to Expect After Heart Stenting
After a heart stenting, you will typically be discharged from the hospital within a few days. Recovery begins immediately, with most patients able to walk within a few hours of the procedure.
Individual recovery rate depends on the problem that required the heart stenting in the first place. The severity of your condition and your overall health also play a role. You will likely require the use of certain medications to prevent complications like blood clots. Carefully following your doctor’s instructions is important.
When you or a loved one has a blockage that requires heart stenting, we has you covered.
Sources: American Heart Association, Medline Plus, National Institutes of Health