馃巿What is coronary angioplasty? What is a stent?

Discover here the characteristics of one of the most frequent procedures in cardiology.

4/24/20242 min read

馃巿What is coronary angioplasty? What is a stent?
It is a procedure (not surgery) performed to unblock a coronary artery, a coronary artery. Coronary obstructions are the cause of chest pain, the episodes preceding a heart attack, and myocardial infarction.

How is it done?
After mild sedation, a small, flexible tube called a catheter is inserted through the forearm artery (radial) or groin artery (femoral). This catheter reaches the heart, and a contrast solution is injected to visualize the arteries with X-rays and determine their obstruction. Then, a device with an inflatable balloon that unclogs the obstruction by flattening the plaque against the artery walls is inserted, and finally, this plaque is sealed with a stent.

What is a stent?
It is a mesh-like metal structure, specially compatible with the body, that keeps the artery open. There are drug-eluting stents (the most modern ones) and bare-metal stents.

When do we recommend coronary angioplasty?
The most frequent indications are persistent chest pain despite pharmacological treatment, in what is incorrectly called pre-heart attack (correctly unstable angina) or acute myocardial infarction. A relevant consideration is that the times to unclog the artery and prevent heart damage are very different. Acute myocardial infarction has a short time frame, preferably less than 6 hours, to save as much muscle as possible. The other conditions may give us a longer window.

What is the key馃棟锔? The key always lies in early and appropriate diagnosis by an experienced cardiologist.

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