A 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 (renarrowing) 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.
During the procedure
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 the procedure
Your doctor or nurse will tell you how long to lie down and keep the insertion site still.
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.
When to call your doctor
Call your 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 (38.3°C).