Heart Stent

When a patient undergoes coronary angioplasty (a procedure to widen and correct a blocked or narrowed artery), a coronary stent implant is often placed inside the previously clogged heart artery.

Northwest Regional Heart and Vascular has performed numerous stent implantations to people all across the region, and our entire team of cardiac interventional specialists works together to help patients improve their quality of life.

What is a coronary stent?

A stent is a small, wire mesh tube about the size of a ballpoint pen spring. This tube is inserted to help keep the artery open. And a number of stents are coated with medication that works to help keep the artery open and allow oxygen-rich blood to flow normally.

With a stent implanted, there is less chance of a once blocked artery becoming restricted again than if a patient had a coronary angioplasty alone.

How is the stent implanted into the artery?

  • A stent is placed in an artery using cardiac catheterization – a technique that involves guiding a thin tube directly to the affected area via a blood vessel in the groin.
  • At Northwest Regional Heart and Vascular, patients come to the cardiac catheterization laboratory (or cath lab), where they are sedated prior to receiving quick and effective treatment.
  • After the catheter is threaded to the site of the blockage the stent is firmly implanted in such a way that keep the artery open, and blood flowing.
  • The whole procedure takes less than an hour and complications are unlikely if patients follow discharge instructions.

What to do after the coronary stent procedure.

To prevent clotting, patients are instructed to take aspirin as well as an anti-clotting medication such as Plavix or Ticlid for six months to a year after the stent implant.

During this period, a layer of tissue that normally lines arteries will grow to cover the stent’s inside surface. Once the healing process is complete, the anti-clotting drug is no longer necessary.

Are you a candidate for coronary angioplasty and stenting?

Symptoms of a blocked artery may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Heart palpitations
  • Weakness/dizziness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Tightening of the chest
  • Intense chest pain (also called angina)

At Northwest Regional Heart and Vascular, we will treat your symptoms and evaluate your overall heart and medical health in order to determine if coronary angioplasty and stenting is right for you.

To schedule an appointment in Portland or for more information, call (503) 257-0959.