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Questions and Answers – Stenting

If you are a candidate for stenting to treat coronary artery disease (CAD), you will most likely have a lot of questions to discuss with your doctor. Here are some questions and answers to get you started. Keep in mind that your doctor is your best source of information and advice about CAD and treatment for CAD. Be sure to bring up any additional questions and concerns you may have about CAD with your doctor.

Is a bare metal or drug-eluting stent (DES) right for me?

Discuss all your treatment options with your cardiologist. He or she can advise you as to whether or not a drug-eluting stent (DES) is right for you.

How long will I have the stent?

You should plan on having a stent for the rest of your life. Stents are designed to remain within your coronary artery permanently to provide lasting support.

Will I feel the stent?

No. You will not feel the stent inside of you. (Though you will probably feel better after it has been implanted and blood flow in your coronary artery has been restored.)

Can the stent move?

Once the stent is opened and presses into the inside wall of your coronary artery, it will remain in place permanently. Vessel tissue will grow around the stent and hold it in place.

Is it safe to have magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), mammogram, CT scan, x-ray, or nuclear stress test?

Before having any tests, be sure to tell the doctor treating you that you have a stent. Mammography, CT scanning, x-rays and nuclear stress tests are considered safe for people with stents. However, if you need magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the technician will need to operate the machine within certain limits.

Will I have a problem with airport metal detectors or security checkpoints in stores?

Going through a metal detector or security checkpoint will not trigger the alarm and will not harm your stent.

How long should I take my medications?

The most important thing that you can do to minimize the risk of stent thrombosis is to take the medications your doctor prescribes. Do not stop taking these medicines until your cardiologist tells you to, even if you are feeling better.

If you have a drug-eluting stent, you may need to take your medication for an extended period of time, perhaps a year or longer. Follow your doctor’s instructions exactly.

Will I experience the symptoms of coronary artery disease again, such as chest pain?

It is possible that you will experience symptoms again, either because of a new blockage in the treated coronary artery or a new blockage in a different place. If you experience these symptoms, notify your doctor immediately.

How will I know if my artery renarrows?

Although the stents are intended to reduce restenosis, it is still possible for your artery to renarrow. If this happens, you may experience symptoms similar to those experienced when you first noticed you had coronary artery disease or before your stent procedure. These symptoms may include chest pain or shortness of breath, especially during physical activity. If you experience pain, inform your doctor immediately.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 22 Sep 2010

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