Most people who have angioplasty also have a stent placed. The stent is usually inserted during the same procedure after the inflated balloon has widened the blocked artery.
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A coronary stent is a tube-shaped device inserted during an angioplasty. An angioplasty is a common procedure performed to widen blocked arteries. During the procedure, the surgeon inserts a catheter in your groin, arm or wrist. In order to widen the clogged artery, a tiny balloon is temporarily "inflated" through the catheter. The balloon helps allow blood to flow freely. At this stage, a stent is inserted at the same time to keep the artery open.
There are five types of coronary stents available:
Here’s a step-by-step description of how an angioplasty is performed and how a stent is placed.
When your heart artery gets blocked or clogged, your blood cannot flow freely. A balloon angioplasty can help widen your artery and let the blood flow again.
You are given a local anaesthetic to numb the pain caused by insertion of the catheter. This means you are awake throughout the procedure. The catheter enters your artery in the arm, wrist or groin, and it is passed slowly through your artery with the help of a special dye and an X-ray video.
Once the balloon on the end of the catheter has reached the blockage, the surgeon inflates it. This widens your artery and presses fatty deposits against the wall of the blood vessel, ensuring blood can flow freely. The balloon is then deflated and very gently pulled back out.
Stent Placement (Stenting)
Particularly bad blockages require the insertion of a stent, which keeps your artery open after the ballon has been inflated. The stent is opened by the inflating the balloon and is designed to remain in place after the balloon is deflated.
A coronary angioplasty is performed using an X-ray video. This requires a special contrast dye, which must be injected into the patient just before the procedure begins.