WebMD
Font Size
A
A
A

Stent

A stent is a small, expandable tube that can be inserted into a blood vessel and expanded using a small balloon during a procedure called angioplasty. A stent is used to open a narrowed or clotted blood vessel.

When the balloon inside the stent is inflated, the stent expands and presses against the walls of the artery. This traps any fat and calcium buildup against the walls of the artery, allows blood to flow through the artery. The stent helps prevent the artery from closing again (restenosis). It can also help prevent small pieces of plaque from breaking off and causing a heart attack or stroke.

To insert the stent, a flexible, thin tube (catheter) is passed through an artery in the groin or arm into the narrowed artery. Then the balloon inside the stent is inflated.

Some stents, called drug-eluting stents, are coated with a medicine to more effectively prevent restenosis.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Specialist Medical Reviewer Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
Last Revised February 13, 2013

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 13, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.