Stent Procedures

In some instances, the cardiologist will place a delicate metal device inside the artery to help it remain patent (open) after he completes the angioplasty (balloon) procedure. The stent is a metal coil or mesh structure that is permanently placed in the affected coronary artery. It provides a rigid structure to give the blood vessel shape and keep it open so blood may flow to the cardiac muscle tissue it serves. Because the stent is larger than balloon catheters, the artery must be dilated with a balloon before placement. In addition, the size of the stent limits its use to only larger coronary arteries.

Figure 1 The stent is a metal coil or mesh structure that can be placed at the end of a balloon catheter. It is positioned in the artery where the plaque was compressed by the angioplasty (balloon) procedure.

Figure 1 The balloon at the end of the catheter is inflated causing the stent to expand. The expanded stent further compresses the plaque and insures that the blood vessel remains open.

Figure 1 Once the balloon catheter is removed, the stent remains in place. It provides a rigid structure to keep the artery open and the blood flowing freely.