A stent is a tiny tube placed into a hollow structure in your body. This structure can be an artery, a blood vessel, or something such as the tube that carries urine (ureter). The stent holds the structure open.
Drug-eluting stents; Urinary or ureteral stents; Coronary stents
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.
A coronary artery stent is a small, self-expanding, metal mesh tube. It is placed inside a coronary artery after balloon angioplasty. This stent prevents the artery from re-closing.
A drug-eluting stent is coated with a medicine. This medicine 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:
- Keeping open a blocked or damaged ureter (percutaneous urinary procedures)
- Treating aneurysms, including thoracic aortic aneurysms
- Keeping bile flowing in blocked bile ducts (biliary stricture)
- Helping you breathe if you have a blockage in the airways
Related topics include:
- Angioplasty and stent placement - heart
- Angioplasty and stent placement - peripheral arteries
- Percutaneous urinary procedures
- Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS)
- Carotid artery surgery
- Aortic aneurysm repair - endovascular
- Thoracic aortic aneurysm
Teirstein PS, Lytle BW. Interventional and surgical treatment of coronary artery disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 74.
White CJ. Atherosclerotic peripheral arterial disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 79.
Zeidel ML. Obstructive uropathy. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 123.
Reviewed By: Deepak Sudheendra, MD, RPVI, Assistant Professor of Interventional Radiology & Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, with an expertise in Vascular Interventional Radiology & Surgical Critical Care, 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.