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Drug-eluting Stents: Does It Increase the Risk of Heart Attack?

Drug-eluting Stents: Does It Increase the Risk of Heart Attack?

The most common types of cardiac stents are generally considered safe and effective when used in combination with anticoagulants.

Mayo Clinic Staff

A stent is a small mesh tube that is inserted into an artery to keep it open. Drug-eluting stents are coated with sustained release drugs to prevent the formation of blood clots within the stent.

Blood clotting in the stent can cause future obstruction (restenosis) and cause a heart attack.

Stents without a drug coating are called bare metal stents.

Safety of drug-eluting stents

Today, new and improved versions of drug-eluting stents are considered safe and effective in most cases when used in combination with prescribed anticoagulants. In general, drug-eluting stents are less likely to cause restenosis than bare metal stents.

Drug-eluting stents are the most common type of stent used to treat occlusion of the cardiac arteries. Many people with heart problems have been successfully treated with drug-eluting stents, preventing the need for more invasive procedures such as coronary artery bypass surgery. A cardiologist (cardiologist) places a stent during coronary angioplasty, also known as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). In this procedure, a thin, flexible tube (catheter) with a balloon at the tip is inserted into the blood vessel. Temporarily inflate the balloon to widen the occluded artery and improve blood flow. Sometimes drug-coated balloons are used.

If you have chest pain due to obstruction of the cardiovascular artery, drug-eluting stents can reduce the symptoms and eliminate the need for repeated angioplasty.

Things to consider before getting a drug-eluting stent

If you have a history of bleeding problems, drug-eluting stents may not be the right choice. After drug-eluting stent placement, stronger prescription anticoagulants such as aspirin and clopidogrel (Plavix) should be taken to prevent blood clots in the stent. You may need to take aspirin daily for the rest of your life.

Your doctor will give you additional instructions on what to expect before and after drug-eluting stenting. Here are some things to consider:

  • Need another type of surgery soon? If you are considering non-cardiac surgery (non-cardiac surgery) the year after you receive a drug-eluting stent, your doctor may recommend that you postpone it for a year, if possible. If you can’t postpone it, a bare metal stent may be a better option for you. Talk to your doctor about your options.
  • Do you need to change your medicine? Anticoagulants and aspirin can affect surgery, some medical procedures, and certain medications. If you cannot postpone non-cardiac surgery, talk to your doctor about all the medications you are taking, especially aspirin and prescription anticoagulants. You may need to adjust your dose. It may be possible to stop taking anticoagulants 6 months after stenting, but this should be discussed with your doctor.

After obtaining a drug-eluting stent

After receiving a drug-eluting stent, doctors prescribe medications such as aspirin and statins and change their lifestyle to prevent stent and heart problems. Healthy lifestyle changes include quitting smoking, eating a better diet, and exercising a lot.

For some people, coronary artery bypass surgery may be done instead of stenting. Coronary artery bypass surgery works well, but it is more invasive than using a stent and therefore has a longer recovery time.

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