Stent implantation is a safe, routine procedure which is performed in the cardiac catheter laboratory to treat narrowed blood vessels. A catheter transports a balloon to the narrowed section, where it expands the mesh tube known as a stent. What happens during a stent implantation, and what are the risks and after-effects of the procedure? We have collated the key information for you.
Firstly, you should put your mind at rest: stent implantation is a minimally invasive procedure, and requires only the minimum of incisions to be made. In addition, you can feel confident that you are in the best possible hands with our heart specialists at the Heart Center Leipzig. Stent implantation is a very common procedure for us; it is carried out regularly and as a matter of everyday routine by our team of cardiologists. .
The doctor in charge of your case will conduct a few preliminary examinations before implanting the stent. This mainly involves taking a blood sample, performing an electrocardiogram (ECG) and, if there is a possibility that the coronary arteries are blocked, also an exercise ECG, as well as X-rays of the lung and heart. As one of our diagnostic tools, we may also use myocardial scintigraphy to check the blood supply to your heart muscle. Afterwards, the doctor will provide you with a detailed explanation of the results.
The preliminary examinations will be carried out in our cardiology day clinic on the ground floor of the Heart Center. Naturally, we may also review any results obtained previously by your GP or cardiologist.
The procedure for implanting a stent
- After first ruling out an iodine allergy, the doctor inserts a small cannula into a blood vessel near the Surface of your skin, either in your groin or in your forearm.
- With X-ray imaging to assist him, the doctor now pushes the guide catheter to the narrowed section of the affected blood vessel, where the stent is put in place.
- On the tip of the catheter is a small folded balloon. This is placed inside the narrowed section of the vessel, where it is filled with a mixture of salt solution and a contrast agent.
- The balloon then inflates, flattening the deposits to the sides of the vessel wall.
- The stent expands and widens the blood vessel; up to this point, the procedure is similar to balloon dilation.
- Now the wire mesh tube - the stent - is put in place. It remains inside the blood vessel, where it eventually binds with the tissue.
- The balloon is then deflated and removed along with the catheter.
What are the risks of stent implantation?
You have no need to worry about the risks associated with stent implantation. Quite apart from the fact that this is a very routine procedure, there is also statistically only a small chance of major complications. There is a very minor risk of general surgical problems arising, such as infections, cardiac arrhythmia, heart attacks, vessel blockages or stent thrombosis. As a rule, however, stent implantation proceeds without complications.
Naturally, before surgery our doctors will discuss with you in detail any particular risks which may apply in your case.
What happens after stent implantation?
- After the intervention, an electrocardiogram and blood tests will be performed. In all likelihood, you will be discharged on the same day and given blood-thinning medication.
- A few weeks after the stent implantation, your heart, lung and blood pressure values should be checked again. Cardiac catheterization is also recommended. Otherwise, living with a stent will not place any restrictions on your life.