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.
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.
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:
Other reasons to use stents include:
Drug-eluting stents; Urinary or ureteral stents; Coronary stents
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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.
Updated 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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