By Dr. Preeti Sharma, Cardiology
The tiny tube inserted into an obstructed passageway in the body to clear it is called a stent. A stent is used to cure weakened or narrow arteries in the body. Depending on its placement, the stent revives the flow of fluids or blood.
Stents are either made up of plastic or metal. Medicated stents inserted into arteries can help a blocked artery from getting blocked again.
The purpose of stents is to clear blockages in passageways such as the arteries. Stents are used to treat the following conditions:
- Coronary heart disease (blockage in the artery supplying blood to the heart)
- Peripheral artery disease (obstruction in the arteries supplying blood to limbs and pelvis)
- Renal artery stenosis (narrowing of arteries carrying blood to kidneys)
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm (swollen blood vessels in the abdomen)
- Carotid artery disease (narrowing of arteries carrying blood to the brain)
- Blocked airways
- Blocked bile ducts
- Damaged or blocked ureter (the duct carrying urine from the bladder)
The steps involved in the procedure include:
- A small incision is made over the affected area. The doctor will then insert a catheter (hollow tube) inside the affected area.
- An angiogram, or an imaging technique is used to guide the stent to be inserted.
- The blocked passageway will be located and the stent will be installed.
Risks of stents include:
- Heart attack
- Blood clots
- Re-blockage of the artery
- Anaesthesia induced breathing problems