A coronary stent is a treatment that opens up blocked arteries to allow more blood to flow to the heart muscle.
A coronary stent, once inserted, allows more blood to flow to the heart muscle and is good at relieving symptoms of chest pain and shortness of breath. During a heart attack, a coronary stent can improve outcomes and stabilise the artery that is blocking off if placed in time.
Your cardiologist may ask you to have blood test and fast for 6 hours prior to the coronary angiogram and coronary stent. You will likely stay overnight, so bring personal belongings that you require. You will need to arrange transport after your procedure for the next day as you will not be able to drive. Your cardiologist may ask you to hold some medications the day of the coronary stent. You will be asked to sign a consent form after having the risks and benefits of the coronary stent explained to you.
A coronary angiogram is performed prior to the stent being inserted to examine the coronary artery blockage and the coronary stent’s proposed position. A pressure wire device may be inserted to confirm the severity of the coronary blockage at the time of coronary angiogram. If the pressure wire is abnormal or the artery critically narrowed, then a coronary artery stent may be considered as an option to open up the coronary artery. Another option may be coronary artery bypass surgery.
Once the decision to go ahead with the coronary stent procedure has been made by the interventional cardiologist, you will be given two antiplatelet medications to stop your blood from clotting. The stent, loaded onto a balloon catheter, is then placed though the coronary blockage. The balloon is then inflated to deploy the coronary stent. You may experience brief chest discomfort during this time. After the stent is deployed, the placement is then checked. Multiple coronary stents may be placed during the same procedure depending on the nature of your coronary arteries. Upon completion of the coronary stent, insertion of the catheters will be removed and a clamp placed on the arterial puncture site until the artery heals over – usually an hour. You will move to a recovery room where you will need to rest for a few hours. Your cardiologist will arrange a review to discuss the coronary stenting.
Following the procedure, you will remain in hospital overnight and will need to continue on the two antiplatelet medications started for a minimum of 12 months.