Learning to live with the effects of a heart attack: long-term drug therapy: anticoagulant drugs

CORONARY ANGIOPLASTY: WHAT IS A CORONARY STENT? WHAT ARE COATED STENTS?

WHAT IS A CORONARY STENT?

A stent is an expandable tube or mesh made of metal. Stents are usually constructed of surgical grade stainless steel, tantalum, platinum or some other metal. The stent is crimped over the same type of balloon that is used for angioplasty. When the stent balloon assembly is advanced in to the artery, the stent is in a collapsed state an grips the balloon tightly. It is then positioned at the site of the narrowing and the balloon is inflated. This results in expansion of the stent, which then grips the side of the artery and prevents it from collapsing. The balloon is then deflated and remove while the stent remains in place, keeping the artery wide open.

WHAT ARE COATED STENTS?

Stents can also be coated by special techniques with anti-clotting drugs like heparin (Hepacoat stent), or carbon (Carbostent), or with drugs (eg. rapamycin, paclitaxel or actinomycin) which can reduce the rate of restenosis. One such stent called the 'Cypher' (from Johnson & Johnson) is extremely useful and has been shown to have a zero-percent restenosis rate in some studies.

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Cardio & Blood