A coronary 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 (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.
Dignity Health Heart and Vascular Institute of Greater Sacramento is a leader in interventional cardiology care. Our cardiologists use the latest digital technology and minimally invasive tools.
What to Expect During a Coronary Stent Procedure
Stents are used to treat cardiology conditions caused by narrow or blocked arteries. If you undergo coronary angioplasty, your heart doctor will use stents. Here's how coronary stents are used:
- 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 any coronary procedure that involves placing stents in your body:
- You may need to keep still, with your leg or arm straight, for two to six 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.
After a Coronary Stent Procedure: When to Call the Doctor
Once home, call your heart 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.