A stent is a small, expandable tube that can be inserted into
a blood vessel and expanded using a small balloon during a procedure called
angioplasty. A stent is used to open a narrowed or clotted blood vessel.
When the balloon inside the stent is inflated, the stent expands
and presses against the walls of the artery. This traps any fat and calcium
buildup against the walls of the artery and allows blood to flow through the
artery. The stent helps prevent the artery from closing again (restenosis). It can
also help prevent small pieces of plaque from breaking off and causing a heart
attack or stroke.
To insert the stent, a flexible, thin tube (catheter) is passed
through an artery in the groin or arm into the narrowed artery. Then the
balloon inside the stent is inflated.
Some stents, called drug-eluting stents, are coated with a medicine to more effectively prevent
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.