Learn everything you need to know about stents: These vascular stents help to treat constrictions permanently. Learn more now and stay healthy in the long term!
The stent is a vascular support
A stent is an instrument used to keep blood vessels or hollow organs open. Hollow organs can be, for example, the gastrointestinal tract or the bile ducts. Blood vessels are very often the coronary vessels or vessels in the abdominal cavity, for example the aorta or vessels in the pelvic-leg stroma.
A stent is made of metal or synthetic fibers. It can be thought of as a spiral wire prosthesis, in the form of a tube. In simpler terms, a stent looks like a tube, consisting of mesh wire. The goals of a stent are to stabilize or keep open the hollow organ or blood vessel and to permanently remove any narrowing there.
Insertion of a stent into the coronary arteries
In cardiovascular medicine, stents are very often inserted into the coronary vessels. The aim here is to permanently treat constrictions that lead to relevant circulatory disorders of the heart. In this way, blood flow is to be ensured at rest and also under physical stress.
On the one hand, the aim is to avoid complications of the circulatory disorders in the long term and, on the other hand, to permanently prevent re-narrowing. Almost every dilatation of a constriction with a balloon catheter is followed by treatment with a stent, because the probability of a new constriction is very high with balloon dilatation alone.
How is the stent inserted into the coronary arteries?
The stent is placed in the coronary arteries by means of a cardiac catheter. First, the cardiac catheter is inserted into the coronary vessel. Since the cardiac catheter has an inner lumen, a very soft wire can be inserted into the coronary vessel. The wire serves as a splint, and a balloon is usually inserted into the vessel and expanded via this splint. The stent is then inserted over this constriction. In this stent tube is the so-called stent balloon, which then inflates and presses the stent into the vessel wall. The aim is to permanently stabilize the blood vessel and keep it open.
Follow-up care after stent implantation
It is very important that the stent remains open in the long term. For this purpose, two blood-thinning medications are necessary in the initial phase. Usually, one blood thinning medication is acetylsalicylic acid 100mg daily and the second is clopidogrel 75mg or ticagrelor 90mg or prasugrel 10mg depending on the clinical event.
How long must the blood thinner be taken after stent implantation?
The duration of dual platelet inhibition is 6 months if the clinical course is stable, and 12 months after an acute coronary syndrome. It is very important that the so-called dual therapy is consistently adhered to during this period. In addition, the so-called vascular risk factors, for example elevated cholesterol levelscholesterol levels, in order to prevent the progression of vascular atherosclerosis. Cardiological checks are also recommended, especially including a stress test. In this way, the recurrence of circulatory disorders of the heart can be detected in good time in the long term.