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What is coronary stenting?

Coronary stenting is a procedure to place a stent, mesh tube, inside a coronary artery to keep it open. Coronary arteries are blood vessels that supply blood to your heart muscle. Coronary stenting is performed with other procedures, such as angioplasty, that open narrowed or blocked coronary arteries. Coronary stenting is a treatment for coronary artery disease (CAD), which is a risk factor for a heart attack. 

Coronary stenting is only one method of treating narrowed or blocked coronary arteries. It may not be the best option for all patients. Discuss all of your treatment options with your doctor to understand which options are best for you.  

Other procedures that may be performed

Your doctor may perform other procedures in addition to coronary stenting. These include:

  • Angiography makes pictures or images, called an angiogram, of the heart’s blood vessels.

  • Atherectomy involves inserting a catheter into a vessel in your groin or arm. Your doctor will thread the catheter into the artery that needs treatment using a guide wire. Your doctor will then scrape or drill away the plaque with special catheter instruments to open the artery.

  • Coronary angioplasty involves inserting a catheter into a vessel in your groin or arm. Your doctor will thread the catheter into the coronary artery that needs treatment using a guide wire. Your doctor will then expand a balloon on the tip of the catheter wire to open the artery.

Coronary stenting can improve angioplasty and atherectomy results by further widening the artery and smoothing the artery walls. This reduces the chance of blood clots and other problems.

Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Oct 29, 2012

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Medical References

  1. Angioplasty and Stenting. Massachusetts General Hospital. http://www.massgeneral.org/imaging/services/procedure.aspx?id=2265.
  2. Angioplasty and Stenting. Society of Interventional Radiology. http://www.sirweb.org/patients/angioplasty-stent/.
  3. Angioplasty and Vascular Stenting. American College of Radiology. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=angioplasty.
  4. Coronary Stents. A.S.M. Systems. http://www.heartsite.com/html/stent.html.

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