The treatment for inserting a Stent to treat heart conditions is in the news with Prince Philip. It is a simple and effective procedure with great success.
The procedure know as Coronary Angioplasty is a procedure to treat the fatty narrowing of the arteries to increase the blood flow to the heart. This fatty deposits, Plaque build up over time causing the arteries to harden and narrow reducing the amount of blood that may pass. This harding is called atherosclerosis and is a common disorder and can affect any artery in the body but when it affects the coronary arteries it is called Coronary Heart Disease (CHD).
The process of Angioplasty can help to restore the blood flow where the arteries have become narrowed through key hole surgery techniques. Medication is given to numb and relax the body. A thin plastic tube, catheter, is then passed through the groin or sometimes the arm, guided to the heart by the use of dye and x-ray techniques to the affected area of the heart. Doctors can see clearly the results to ensure the correct area is treated.
A stent is like a small cage tube that can be expanded to open the artery. When the catheter reaches the area to be treated, a stent is inserted and a balloon inflated to ensure the stent is exactly where required. The stent is left in place and then the catheter is removed. The process is done in 1-2 hours and in many cases the patient can return home the some day others are left in hospital to ensure a full recovery. There were over 80,000 procedures carried out in 2008 and estimated that there are over 100,000 procedures carried out in the UK every year now.