What is it?
A stent is a small wire mesh tube used to open arteries that are narrowed or blocked. They are used to treat blockages in the coronary (heart) arteries, renal (kidney) arteries and arteries leading to the legs and arms. Stent treatments at Loyola are often performed using minimally invasive techniques.
Prior to stent placement, angioplasty is performed by inserting a balloon catheter to open a narrowed artery. Patients may feel tightness or pressure in the chest during the procedure at the time of balloon inflation. As the balloon is deflated and withdrawn from the artery, the stent remains in place and serves as a permanent scaffolding to keep the artery open. Within a few weeks, the natural lining of the artery grows over the surface of the stent. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia with mild sedation and takes approximately two hours.
A new type of treatment, vascular brachytherapy, uses certain forms of radiation to reduce renarrowing of the artery after a stent is inserted. A catheter with a radioactive tip is introduced to the narrowed area of the artery. Radiation is then released, resulting in destruction of the overgrowth of tissue cells that caused the artery to narrow.
There are several types of stents that may be used:
Drug-Eluting Stent: A drug-eluting stent (DES) is a stent coated with a special medication to reduce the risk of renarrowing of the artery. The medication slowly dissolves into the artery in the weeks after the stent is inserted.
Carotid Stent: A carotid stent is used to treat disease in the carotid arteries, the main vessels supplying blood to the brain. Before stent placement, a guide wire with a filter is positioned past the narrowed area in the carotid artery and a small balloon is inflated to widen the artery. Then a stent is placed to provide support. The filter captures particles that may be released during the procedure to prevent a stroke.
Coronary Stent: A coronary stent is used to treat coronary artery disease (CAD), which causes a narrowing of the coronary arteries and slows blood flow to the heart. It is often used as a first line of treatment for CAD, reducing the need for bypass surgery.
Peripheral Stent: A peripheral stent is used to open narrowing in the arteries in the legs, arms or renal arteries to increase blood flow throughout the peripheral areas of the body.
The Loyola difference
Loyola’s board-certified interventional cardiologists are experts in complex catheter-based treatments. Our multidisciplinary team of cardiologists, surgeons and other specialists can evaluate, diagnose, and treat a variety of cardiac conditions based on each individual patient’s needs.
Loyola is a nationally recognized leader in cardiac care. U.S. News & World Report ranked us 18th in the nation for cardiology and heart surgery in 2012, making this our 10th year in the top 50.
Learn more about our performance outcomes.