Types of Stents and Stenting ProceduresA wide variety of stents—from bare metal to medication-coated—can be used in a stenting procedure. A stent is a small, expandable tube that helps treat a blocked artery by holding it open. While not always the case, the stent can become a permanent fixture in the artery so that blood can flow freely and reach important organs and tissues. At Tampa General Hospital’s Heart & Vascular Institute, a wide range of skilled cardiovascular specialists perform stenting procedures using several types of stents.
A stenting procedure is commonly used to treat narrowed arteries due to:
- Carotid artery stenosis
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart attack
- Peripheral artery disease
- Renal vascular hypertension
There are a wide variety of stents that can be used in a stenting procedure, including:
- Bioengineered stent – These stents feature antibody coatings that attract circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) to help speed up the formation of the artery’s endothelium (a thin tissue membrane lining the blood vessel that controls blood clotting).
- Drug-eluting stents – These stents are coated with medication that is delivered directly to the artery wall when deployed.
- Dual-therapy stents – Combining the features of a bioengineered stent and drug-eluting stent, dual-therapy stents can accelerate the healing of a blood vessel.
- Bioresorbable vascular scaffold (BVS) – A mesh stent, a BVS will dissolve gradually over a period of 12 to 24 months.
- Bare metal stent – One of the first types of stents ever produced, these stents do not have any sort of medication coating.
A stenting procedure is most commonly combined with an angioplasty. During this procedure, the vascular surgeon will:
- Insert a catheter into an incision near the groin. (At the tip of the catheter will be the stent and a deflated balloon.)
- The surgeon will use imaging technology to guide the catheter to the blocked blood vessel.
- As the balloon inflates, the stent will open up and be positioned in the blood vessel.
- The balloon will be deflated and brought back into the catheter. The catheter will be removed from the blood vessel and the incision stitched.
What to Expect
Among the many benefits of stenting procedures (especially when combined with angioplasty) is providing significant symptom relief. It’s also a minimally invasive procedure that has a fairly quick recovery period.
However, though complications are rare, there are risks to stenting procedures. They include:
- Blood clots
- Prolonged bleeding at the insertion site
- Blood vessel damage
Receiving a coronary stent can provide long-term relief to patients with cardiovascular conditions, especially those who received a medicine-coated stent. A recent study concluded that the rate of restenosis (when the artery narrows again after surgery) in patients using drug-eluting stents was only 10% after 13 months.