Coronary Artery Stenting

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Coronary stenting involves placement of a mesh, metal tube (stent) into an artery to help keep the artery open in order to allow more normal blood flow. The stent is placed after an artery has been cleared of blockage during an angioplasty.

drug-eluting stent is coated with medication that is slowly released to help decrease the rate of reblockage in the artery. A bare-metal stent doesn't contain any medication. 

Coronary Stenting: What to Expect

Description of Procedure

The area of the groin or arm where the catheter is inserted is cleaned and numbed with local anesthetic. Your doctor inserts a needle into the artery and passes a wire through the needle and into the artery. The wire is guided through until it reaches the blocked artery in the heart, where a soft, flexible catheter slips over the wire and up to the blockage.

Stent placement
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Your doctor takes X-rays during the procedure to know where the wire and catheter are positioned. Dye is injected into the arteries to clearly see the arteries and blockages.

After the blockage is reached, a small balloon at the tip of the catheter rapidly inflates and deflates to stretch open the artery. Your doctor inserts the collapsed stent and inflates the balloon again to expand the stent to its full size. The stent is left in place to hold the vessel walls open, and the deflated balloon, catheter and wire are removed. Pressure is applied for 20-30 minutes after surgery to control bleeding.

The procedure takes between 30 minutes and three hours. You will need to lie still and flat on your back for a period of time. A pressure dressing may be placed over the area where the catheter was inserted to help prevent bleeding.

Possible Complications from Coronary Stents

Always inform new doctors or other healthcare professionals that you have a coronary stent in place. Some medical procedures need to be modified or avoided for people with coronary stents, particularly MRI scans.

Complications may include:

  • Bleeding at the point of the catheter insertion
  • Damage to the walls of arteries, causing you to need additional procedures or surgery
  • Heart attack or abnormal heart beats known as arrhythmia
  • Allergic reaction to X-ray dye
  • Blood clot formation
  • Infection
  • Stroke

Sometimes the procedure is not successful or the artery narrows again. You may require repeat angioplasty or coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG).


Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.