What is a stent and what is it for?

The stent is a device that has revolutionized cardiac medicine, significantly improving the treatment and resolution of some pathologies. For example, It is one of the main options for an obstruction of the coronary arteries.

A stent consists of a small tube that is placed in a blood vessel, such as an artery or a vein. It is a self-expanding tube, so, when placed, What is intended is to dilate that vessel that was clogged or narrowed for some reason.

The goal is to return the vessel to its normal state so that it allows the blood to pass properly. Thus, in the case of an obstruction of the coronary arteries, which are those that water the heart, The placement of a stent allows the irrigation that the heart needs to beat to be maintained.

The stents were first used in the 70s. To this day, research is still underway to improve its effectiveness and reduce its complications. In this article we explain everything you need to know about a stent.

What is a stent?

As we have already mentioned, A stent is a small tube that is placed in a blood vessel that is clogged or narrowed. Once placed, this device expands, dilating that artery or vein, and allowing blood flow to flow normally.

The stent is placed through a surgical intervention that it is called angioplasty. It is a procedure that is done by catheterization; that is, a narrow, elongated tube called a catheter that carries the stent at its end is inserted.

The catheter is usually inserted through the femoral artery. In this way, it is introduced at the height of the thigh and, leading the catheter through the vessels, the area where the stent needs to be placed is reached. Its most common use is in the coronary arteries.

However, a stent can be used in many other pathologies apart from coronary heart disease. For example, It can be used to dilate other ducts, such as ureters. It is also useful in pathologies such as aneurysms or in narrowing of other arteries, such as renal.

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What types of stents exist?

As the years have passed, the advances in this field have been remarkable. The first stent that was used, and nowadays called conventional stent, was made of metal. Normally, stainless steel or chrome was used.

The conventional stent is quite effective, in addition to being the most economical all types. The problem with this type of stent was that the vessel where it had been placed could become clogged again.

Thus, arose Pharmacoactive stents, which consist of placing, on the stent material itself, a drug which prevents the vessel from clogging again. It is more expensive than the previous one, but reduces the need to take medication after the intervention.

Finally, we found the bioabsorbable stents. They are like pharmaceuticals, with the improvement that the material with which they are manufactured can be reabsorbed. That is, our body is able to degrade it and make it disappear.

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What must be considered?

It is important to know that, although the stent is a great advance in cardiology, It also has its risks and complications. It is usually placed to resolve the obstruction of the coronary arteries, which is closely related to atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is a disease in which accumulations of fat are deposited inside the arteries. Studies relate this pathology to high levels of cholesterol, hypertension and smoking.

Thus, It is essential that we know that the stent does not cure the disease. It is a timely solution to reduce a particular obstruction. However, what we must do is prevent blockages in other blood vessels.

In addition, after the intervention, medical treatment is usually imposed that prevents thrombi or clots from occurring in the area where the stent is placed. Either way, It is the doctor who must choose the most effective treatment in each case.