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The Heart Center at San Antonio Community Hospital is known for excellence in the treatment of heart attack victims. One life-saving procedure is the insertion of a stent into a blocked artery in the heart.
A stent procedure is used along with balloon angioplasty. It involves placing a small stainless steel mesh-like tube that acts as a scaffold to provide support inside your coronary artery at a site narrowed by plaque. The stent is mounted on a balloon-tipped catheter, threaded through an artery, and positioned at the blockage. The balloon is then inflated, opening the stent. Then, the catheter and deflated balloon are removed, leaving the stent in place permanently. The opened stent keeps the vessel open and stops the artery from collapsing. Over a several-week period, your artery heals around the stent.
Beginning in 2003, most stents have been coated with medicine designed to reduce the risk of reblockage (to less than 5-10% of the time).