A stent is a tiny tube placed into an artery, blood vessel, or other hollow structure in your body (such as the tube that carries urine) to hold it open.
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, self-expanding, metal mesh tube. It is placed inside a coronary artery after balloon angioplasty to prevent the artery from re-closing.
A drug-eluting stent is coated with a medicine that helps further prevent the arteries from re-closing. Like other coronary artery stents, it is left permanently in the artery.
Why the Procedure is Performed
Most of the time, stents are used when arteries become narrow or blocked.
Stents are commonly used to treat the following conditions that result from blocked or damaged blood vessels:
- Coronary heart disease (CHD) (angioplasty and stent placement - heart)
- Peripheral artery disease (angioplasty and stent replacement - peripheral arteries)
- Renal artery stenosis
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm (aortic aneurysm repair - endovascular)
- Carotid artery disease (carotid artery surgery)
Other reasons to use stents include:
Drug-eluting stents; Urinary or ureteral stents; Coronary stents
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.
- Angioplasty and stent placement - carotid artery
- Angioplasty and stent placement -- peripheral arteries
- Aortic aneurysm repair - endovascular
- Carotid artery surgery
- Heart bypass surgery
- Intravascular ultrasound
- Percutaneous urinary procedures
- Thoracic aortic aneurysm
- Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS)
- Angioplasty and stent - heart - discharge
- Angioplasty and stent placement - carotid artery - discharge
- Angioplasty and stent placement - peripheral arteries - discharge
- Aortic aneurysm repair - endovascular - discharge
- Cardiac catheterization - discharge
- Carotid artery surgery - discharge
- Percutaneous urinary procedures - discharge
- Peripheral artery bypass - leg - discharge
Review Date 5/27/2014
Updated by: Deepak Sudheendra, MD, Assistant Professor of Interventional Radiology & Surgery, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.