Coronary Stenting: Bare Metal and Drug Eluting
Stents are metal mesh tubes inserted during angioplasty. Angioplasty is a catheter procedure that involves temporarily inserting and blowing up a tiny balloon where your artery is clogged to help widen the artery. Stents help prevent restenosis — a situation where the artery becomes blocked again. Without the use of stents, about 30 percent of arteries become blocked again.
There are two basic kinds of stents: bare-metal stents and drug-eluting stents.
Bare-metal stents are metal stents with no special coating. Bare-metal stents act as simple scaffolding to prop open blood vessels after they're widened with angioplasty. As the artery heals, tissue grows around the stent holding it in place. However, sometimes an overgrowth of this scar tissue in the arterial lining increases the risk that the artery will become blocked again.
Drug-eluting stents are coated with medication that is slowly released (eluted) to help prevent the growth of scar tissue in the artery lining. This helps the artery remain smooth and open, ensuring good blood flow through it. Drug-eluting stents were developed because in some people who get bare-metal stents, tissue growth over the stent eventually leads to re-blockage.