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A stent is a small mesh tube that holds open passages in the body, such as weak or narrow arteries. Stents are often used to treat narrowed coronary arteries that supply the heart with oxygen-rich blood. The stent holds open the narrowed arteries to allow adequate blood to flow to the heart. Stents are also sometimes used to treat the aorta if it has an aneurysm or bulge in it. The aorta carries blood from the left side of the heart to the body. Stents can also be used in the carotid arteries in the neck to prevent or treat stroke, or sometimes to treat narrowed airways in the lungs.
Stenting is a minimally invasive procedure. Stents can be made of metal mesh, fabric, silicone, or combinations of materials. Stents used for coronary arteries have a base of metal mesh. Fabric stents, also called stent grafts, are used in larger arteries such as the aorta. Stents used in the airways of the lungs are often made of silicone.
You may need to take certain medicines, such as aspirin and other anti-platelet medicines, for a year or longer after receiving a stent in your artery to prevent serious complications such as blood clots. The most common complication after a stenting procedure is a blockage or blood clot in the stent. Complications from placing an airway stent include the stent moving out of place or becoming blocked.
Read more on stents.
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