What is a Heart Stent?

A heart stent is a small metal mesh tube that's used to hold an artery open after angioplasty. Heart stent placement, also known as stenting, is done as a treatment for coronary artery disease, or to re-open arteries after a heart attack. Stents can also be used as a treatment for aortic aneurysm.

Types of Heart Stents

There are 2 types of heart stents:

  1. Bare-metal stents: metal stents with no coating
  2. Drug-eluting stents: stents that are coated with a medication to prevent scar tissue from building in the artery

Stents that are used to treat aortic aneurysm are different from heart stents. An aortic stent is made out of pleated fabric instead of metal mesh.

The Heart Stent Procedure

Stenting is done in a cardiac catheterization lab. Before your stenting procedure, you'll be given some medication through an IV that may make you sleepy, but you'll be awake during the procedure. The area where the catheter will be inserted will be numbed, so you may feel some pressure, but should not feel any pain.

  • A thin, flexible tube with a balloon attached will be passed through an artery in your groin, arm or neck to the area where the stent will be placed.
  • When the tip of the balloon reaches the area, the balloon will be inflated, which will release the stent.
  • The balloon and catheter will then be removed, but the stent will remain in your artery.

After Heart Stent Placement

After your stenting procedure, you'll be taken to a recovery room. Once the catheter is removed, a band will be applied to your wrist, or a nurse or technician will apply pressure to the insertion site in your leg for several minutes to prevent bleeding at the site. Depending on where your catheter was placed, you may need to lie still for several hours after your procedure.

At Wake Forest Baptist Health, you'll have access to a team of expert health care professionals who will help manage your care throughout your stenting procedure. Your team may include heart doctors (cardiologists), nurse specialists and others.

Request an Appointment with a Heart Center physician today.

Learn more about Wake Forest Baptist's cardiology services.


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Last Updated: 02-14-2014
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.