Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
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How Cardiac Stents Work

Friday, 07 Jan 2011 10:06 AM


Question: How do cardiac stents work? Why do they sometimes fail?

Dr. Hibberd’s Answer:

Cardiac tents are used to help combat blood vessel disease, and to treat cases of blood vessel blockage or collapse by growths such as tumors.

Modern stents have revolutionized the treatment of arterial disease. They are generally made of an expandable mesh material and when placed correctly, resist compression and prevent collapse of the affected blood vessel.

Peripheral stents are far safer than invasive grafting for most peripheral arterial disease. Cardiac stents can be quickly inserted for coronary artery disease, but there are still times when surgical bypass is preferable.

Renal artery stents may save you from renal failure and dialysis. Unfortunately, larger arterial trunks, such as the carotid vessels, aorta, and other central arteries, may be better managed surgically in many cases. Although carotid artery stenting is available, there is not enough data and experience with it to say it is safer or superior to the more conventional surgical method of opening vessels, known as endarterectomy.

Stents can fail when they allow clots to form. The stents themselves rarely collapse. Most stent failures relate to the discontinuation of blood thinner agents before the vascular endothelium, or lining, has regrown into the stented area, or when the affected vessels have formed further narrowing before or after the stent is inside the blood vessel.

If you have a partially blocked blood vessel, have it stented or repaired before it is completely blocked. Once blockage has occurred, the likelihood of stent failure and re-occlusion is greatly increased.





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