A stent is a tiny tube placed into an artery, blood vessel, or other hollow structure (such as one that carries urine) to hold it open.
Description of Procedure
When a stent is placed into the body, the procedure is called stenting. There are different kinds of stents. Most are made of a metal or plastic mesh-like material. However, stent grafts are made of fabric. They are used in larger arteries.
- An intraluminal coronary artery stent is a small metal mesh tube that expands in the artery. It is placed inside a coronary artery after balloon angioplasty to prevent the artery closing again.
- A drug-eluting stent is a stent that is coated with a medicine that helps prevent the arteries from re-closing. Like other coronary artery stents, it is left in place in the artery.
Why the Procedure Is Performed
Most of the time, stents are used to treat conditions that are due to narrow or blocked arteries. Stents are commonly used to treat the following conditions:
- Coronary heart disease (CHD)
- Peripheral artery disease
- Renal artery stenosis
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm
- Carotid artery disease
Other reasons to use stents include:
- Keeping open a blocked or damaged ureter
- Treating aneurysms
- Keeping bile flowing in blocked bile ducts
- Helping you breathe if you have a blockage in the airways
Teirstein PS, Lytle BW. Interventional and surgicaltreatment of coronary artery disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 74.
White CJ. Atherosclerotic peripheral arterial disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 79.
Zeidel ML. Obstructive uropathy. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI,eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 125.
|Review Date: 4/8/2013
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.