Minimally Invasive Procedure to Clear Artery Blockage and Restore Blood Flow
Insertion of a heart stent, also called coronary stenting, is the primary method by which the highly skilled general cardiologists and interventional cardiologists at Loyola Medicine clear artery blockage and restore blood flow to your heart.
A stent is a small wire mesh tube used to open arteries that are narrowed or blocked. Coronary stenting is done in conjunction with coronary angioplasty, a procedure whereby your cardiologist uses a small balloon-like device to enlarge and stretch your artery. As the balloon is deflated and withdrawn from the artery, the stent remains in place and serves as a permanent scaffolding to keep the artery open. Within a few weeks, the natural lining of the artery grows over the surface of the stent.
Heart stenting is typically done to alleviate chest tightness, shortness of breath and heart attack. It can be used to correct artery closure from coronary artery disease (CAD) and prevent restenosis, or re-closure of your artery following angioplasty.
Each of Loyola’s expert interventional cardiologists performs nearly 300 angioplasties and heart stents a year, a volume that translates into improved outcomes for our patients.
Why Choose Loyola for Coronary Stenting?
Loyola’s cardiology and heart surgery program is ranked 27th in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
For patients who arrive at our emergency department with a blocked coronary artery, Loyola achieves a door-to-balloon time of 90 minutes for 100% of patients, and 60 minutes for 89% of patients. A quick door-to-balloon time is critical to the treatment of patients with coronary artery disease. This means that every patient needing PCI (percutaneous coronary intervention) due to a blocked artery receives this treatment within 90 minutes of entering the hospital.
Loyola is also part of the ACTION Registry ®, a quality improvement program that focuses specifically on the treatment of patients with STEMI (ST segment elevation myocardial infarction), the deadliest form of heart attack with substantial risk of death and disability. Through participation in this program, Loyola is continually applying the most advanced care for patients with STEMI.
What to Expect
What to Expect with Coronary Stenting
Coronary stenting is a minimally invasive procedure most often performed in Loyola’s cardiac catheterization lab. In order to clear your blocked coronary artery, your cardiologist will use a small needle to access the femoral artery in your leg. A thin guidewire followed by a catheter will go through your artery up to the blockage in your heart. Once your cardiologist opens your artery with angioplasty, a stent will be placed inside your artery to keep it open.
A drug-eluting stent (DES) is a stent coated with a special medication to reduce the risk of renarrowing of the artery. The medication slowly dissolves into the artery in the weeks after the stent is inserted.
If you have weak heart muscles or complications, such as diabetes or multiple blockages, heart bypass surgery may be a better option. Our multidisciplinary team of cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons and other specialists will work with you to determine the best treatment plan for your specific case.
What are the Risks of Coronary Stenting?
Coronary stenting is a common procedure used to treat heart issues and is not often associated with great risk. However, as with any surgical procedure, potential risks can occur and may include:
- Blood clots
- Discomfort and bleeding at insertion site
- Restenosis, or re-narrowing of your artery
Less common, but more severe risks may include: