Drug-Eluting Stent

Definition - What does Drug-Eluting Stent mean?

A drug-eluting stent is a medical device made of wire mesh that is inserted into a patient's artery during a procedure called angioplasty, or percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs). These tube-shaped stents serve as a scaffold that helps to hold open the artery of a patient suffering from atherosclerosis, a blockage or obstruction of the artery. Once inserted, a drug-eluting stent releases medication that aids in preventing further blockages.

WorkplaceTesting explains Drug-Eluting Stent

Before the development of drug-eluting stents, plain wire mesh tubes were inserted to keep arteries open. Stents are placed by surgically guiding them to the location of the blockage and then inflating a balloon to expand the stent, pushing open the artery walls. After placement, the balloon is withdrawn, and the stent is left permanently in place. Sometimes, as a result of this procedure, excess or "scar" tissue may develop around the stent.

A drug-eluting stent is made in the same form as these earlier stents, but it has a polymer coating containing a drug that is released into the artery over time. The drug that is eluted prevents the growth of scar tissue around the stent's placement site. This preventive measure assists in assuring that the artery walls will remain smooth. Studies indicate that once a stent has been placed, a patient has up to a 25% percent chance of the artery blockage recurring. Use of a drug-eluting stent significantly reduces this rate of recurrences.

Once a stent has been placed, the patient will need to take blood-thinning medications to prevent further complications. Patients receiving drug-eluting stents may need to take these medications for a longer period than those receiving bare metal stents.

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