A stent is a tiny tube placed into an artery, blood vessel, or other hollow structure (such as one that carries urine) to hold it 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.
An intraluminal coronary artery stent is a small, self-expanding, metal mesh tube that is placed inside a coronary artery after balloon angioplasty to prevent the artery from re-closing.
A drug-eluting stent is coated with a medicine that 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 to treat conditions that result 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
- 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 surgicaltreatment of coronary artery disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 74.
White CJ. Atherosclerotic peripheral arterial disease. In:Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 79.
Zeidel ML. Obstructive uropathy. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI,eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 125.
Last reviewed 5/28/2012 by David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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