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Illustration shows the steps related to getting a stent. 1. The stent is placed on the end of the balloon catheter. 2. The catheter is inserted into the artery and it is inflated. 3. The catheter is deflated. 4. The catheter is removed, leaving the stent in place to keep your artery open.

Allina Health facilities with angioplasty

Interventional procedures...

Coronary stent

During angioplasty, a cardiologist may insert a stent to help keep the coronary artery open.

What is a coronary stent?

A stent is a mesh tube made of stainless steel or metal alloy used to expand or open a narrowed section of your heart artery. It improves blood flow and relieves your symptoms.

A balloon catheter is used to position the stent. You have the same feelings during the stent placement as when the balloon catheter was expanded.

  • The stent is placed on a balloon catheter (a tube-like device). The cardiologist (doctor specially trained in the study and treatment of heart and blood vessel disease) guides the catheter to the narrowed or closed artery.
  • When the catheter is in place, the cardiologist inflates the balloon. When the balloon is inflated, the stent expands into place into the artery and is left there. You may need more than one stent.
  • You will have X-ray images taken so the cardiologist can see the stent. He or she may need to make more inflations.
  • The cardiologist deflates the balloon catheter and removes it.
  • The stent stays in place to keep your artery open.

It is important to carry your stent identification card with you.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Coronary Stent, cvs-ahc-10049
Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department
First Published: 10/04/2002
Last Reviewed: 11/01/2007