- What is a drug eluting stent?
Drug eluting stents prevent a coronary artery from narrowing again after angioplasty. Stents are small, expandable mesh like tubes that are inserted during an angioplasty procedure into a blocked section of the coronary artery to open the artery and improve blood flow. Drug eluting stents are coated with medicine that prevents scar tissue from growing into the artery (restenosis). (Source: WebMD)
- Why is coronary vessel healing important?
Healing (literally meaning to make whole) is the process of the restoration of health to an unbalanced, diseased or damaged organism. With respect to physical damage or disease suffered by an organism, healing involves the repair of living tissue, organs and the biological system as a whole and resumption of normal functioning. It is the process by which the cells in the body regenerate and repair to reduce the size of a damaged or necrotic area and replace it with new living tissue. (Source: Wikipedia)
Coronary arterial healing occurs after the placement of a drug eluting stent, however complete healing of the vessel takes time. For drug eluting stents, the time course of complete healing in human is unknown. (Source: Wikipedia.)
- How do drug eluting stents affect coronary healing?
While drug eluting stents have been used successfully in millions of patients, evidence suggests that the body sometimes reacts to the stent with local inflammation that increases the risks of delayed healing and the formation of blood clots, a process known as stent thrombosis, which can lead to dangerous adverse events such as myocardial infarction (heart attack). (Source: EurekAlert)
- What are the risks of delayed healing?
For drug eluting stents (which, by design, delay formation of a new endothelium cover over the stent), the incidence of clot formation within the stent may persist for a longer period of time, perhaps as long as five years after treatment. Drug eluting stents have been associated with delayed arterial healing and the prevalence of latent thrombus after five years, suggesting that patients may continue to be risk for stent thrombosis. (Source: Wikipedia)
Stent thrombosis is a rare condition that occurs when a blood clot forms on the surface of a stent, raising the risk of blood flow in an artery being reduced or cut off. The chance of forming blood clots is low (it occurs in less than one in 200 patients). However, if blood clots form, the complications can be serious. They can result in recurrent chest pain or heart attack. (Source: ShareCare)
- I have a drug eluting stent. What should I do?
To prevent clots from forming, medications that thin the blood and prevent it from clumping to form clots are prescribed to all patients – no matter which type of stent is implanted. These “anti-platelet” medications currently include aspirin and clopidogrel (Plavix) or prasugrel (Effient). If you receive a drug-coated, or drug eluting, stent, current recommendations are to continue daily aspirin and Plavix or Effient for at least a year after your procedure. (Source: ShareCare)
- What if I have a bare metal stent?
To prevent clots from forming, medications that thin the blood and prevent it from clumping to form clots are prescribed to all patients – no matter which type of stent is implanted. These “anti-platelet” medications currently include aspirin and clopidogrel (Plavix) or prasugrel (Effient). If you receive a bare metal stent, your doctor will prescribe aspirin and Plavix or Effient for at least one month after your procedure. (Source: ShareCare)
Bare-metal stents can work well, but have a higher rate of restenosis than do drug eluting stents. If you’ll need some type of surgery that’s not related to your heart (for example, a stomach or hernia operation) soon after your stent placement, or if you have a bleeding disorder, you may do better with a bare-metal stent. (Source: Mayo Clinic)