Heart Attack


A heart attack can come with numerous apparent symptoms like chest pain and pressure or pain in the jaw, arm, or neck. However, in nearly 50% of all heart attack cases, those signs & symptoms are relatively missing. The signs and symptoms that do show up might be so mild and average that a patient may barely think about them by any stretch of the imagination.

More than 1.1 million individuals experience a heart attack (myocardial infarction) annually. Several of them when they get a heart attack it is the first indication of coronary artery disease. A heart attack could also be severe enough to cause death or it’s going to be a silent one.

A silent heart attack or a silent myocardial infarction (SMI), is a heart attack with minimum to no related signs and symptoms. Due to the lack of signs and symptoms, the affected person is unaware that they have suffered a significant cardiovascular event. Instead, the affected person will characterize reputedly minor symptoms like fatigue or mild chest soreness to ailments like the flu or indigestion.

Regardless of the lack of signs and symptoms, silent heart attacks are still heart attacks and may have a few extreme consequences, leaving behind scar tissue, weakening the heart, and growing the threat for a next, more serious heart attack.  Thus, it is vital to mention all potential signs and symptoms, even seemingly insignificant ones, to a doctor. Specifically, in case you also have contributing factors which include type 2 diabetes.


Even though silent heart attacks strike men more frequently than women, the latter are equally at risk. For example, men could feel exhaustion or physical discomfort and chalk it up to overwork, poor sleep, or some general age-related ache or pain. Other typical symptoms like mild pain within the throat or chest are often confused with gastric reflux, indigestion, and heartburn. Also, in many cases, the situation of pain is usually misunderstood. Amidst, a silent myocardial infarction (SMI), a person will feel discomfort within the center of the chest and not a sharp pain on the left side of the chest, which many of them accompany a heart attack.

If you’ve got no symptoms or don’t notice the signs, a silent heart attack could also be discovered accidentally once you undergo tests for an additional reason. For instance, blood tests can show you’ve got tissue damage in your heart, and an EKG measures electrical activity in your heart. Heart damage can interrupt or delay several electrical activities. Finally, an echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of your heart, also can show if there’s damage. A silent heart attack is as dangerous as the usual one. Simply because you can’t feel it, doesn’t mean it’s not serious.

Heart and vascular disease frequently go hand-in-hand with diabetes. People with diabetes are at a way greater threat for stroke, heart attack, and hypertension. Other vascular problems due to diabetes include inadequate circulation to the legs and feet. Sadly, many cardiovascular issues can go undetected and begin early in life.

Serious cardiovascular disease can start before age of 30 in individuals with diabetes. Type 2 diabetes (also called non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus) is the after-effect of the body’s inability to form or use enough insulin. One study found that individuals with type 2 diabetes, without apparent heart problems, ran an equivalent risk for a heart condition as people without diabetes who had already suffered one heart attack.

How Does Type 2 Diabetes Increase the Risk of Silent Heart Attack?

Having diabetes increases the danger of developing a wide range of ailments, a few of which directly impact the heart.  When it involves a silent heart attack, diabetics are particularly susceptible for a few reasons:

  • Higher Risk of Heart Disease – Diabetic patients are at an increased risk of a silent heart attack in large part because the condition has already put their heart in a more precarious position overall. Additionally, to damaging levels of blood sugar, patients also are more likely to experience high cholesterol and obesity, all of which strain the cardiovascular system.
  • Autonomic  Neuropathy – A significant side effect of diabetes is damage to the autonomic nervous system. The nerves of this technique are liable for controlling several bodily functions including breathing, digestion, and pulse.  Furthermore, nerve damage can reduce a patient’s ability to feel pain, including the painful symptoms related to heart attack, making the signs easier to miss.

Studies have shown that up to 16% of participants with Type 2 diabetes also are likely to have suffered a silent heart attack.  It’s a connection that can’t be ignored.  If you’ve been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, it’s important to know the risks related to the condition and to be cautious in maintaining and monitoring your health.

How can patients with type two diabetes prevent a silent heart attack?

The best way to one can prevent a silent heart attack is to take excellent care of themselves and also, keep proper control of type two diabetes.

  • Maintain your blood sugar as normal as possible.
  • Manage your blood pressure, with medication if necessary. The target for people with diabetes is under 130/80.
  • Get your cholesterol numbers in check from time-to-timeby taking proper medications.
  • Try to lose weight if you’re obese.
  • Keep exercising regularly.
  • Make sure you consume or eat a healthy diet daily.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Try calming exercises regularly to reduce your daily stress.

Lastly, it is important to check with your doctor when it comes to matters of the heart. In the end, it’s only the timely precautions and treatment that save your time and life. The more you are equipped with the knowledge, the safer you are.

Cardiovascular disease continues to be the leading cause of death and disability worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, more people die (around 17.9 million every year)  from CVDs worldwide than from any other disease. About 80% of these deaths are due to coronary heart diseases (eg. heart attack) and cerebrovascular diseases (eg strokes). For both men and women, heart attack remains one of the leading causes of death but they may experience the symptoms of the disease a little differently. It is not necessary that the most typical signs e.g pain in the left hand is what a woman would experience while she is having a heart attack. Aged women above 65 years are more likely to have a heart attack but unhealthy lifestyle habits can also expose younger women to CVDs. Understanding the female-specific symptoms could help an individual seek medical attention faster, which could prove to be life-saving.  Let us now take a look at some warning signs of a heart attack that every woman should know and shouldn’t be overlooked at any cost.

1. Chest pain/ Angina:

This symptom is the most common hint of a heart attack. A woman could experience pain in any part of the chest and not just the left side. It is usually a feeling of tightness and extreme pressure in your chest.

2. Pain in Back, Arms, Neck, and Jaw

This type of symptom is slightly abrupt and gradually increases. It can come and go anytime and anywhere including both your arms at one time, back, or even neck. This kind of pain may be extreme and can wake you up from sleep. Even the jaw pain could be either on the left or right.

3. Stomach Pain

A lot of times this pain is overlooked and treated as an acidic burn or maybe ulcer, flu, etc. But, it could be a possible warning sign of a heart attack for women. It feels like there’s extreme weight kept on your stomach. 

4. Shortness of breath and Nausea

This could occur at one of the most unusual times for instance while you are resting and there’s no physical activity involved. This may increase over time and also lead to stress.

5. Sweating

A woman may experience this even in cool places. A nervous, cold sweat without a possible reason can be taken as a sign of a heart attack. It is very different than your regular warm sweats after a good run.   

6. Fatigue

This feeling is natural when you have a lot of tasks to finish but when you feel the same at a time when you haven’t exerted yourself could be a cause of worry.

And, once you recognize these symptoms of a heart attack, it is important to treat the situation on an emergency basis and rush to your nearest healthcare provider. Identifying the symptoms of a heart attack can save your and other’s life. Ideally calling for an ambulance is the safest way to go about it. Self-driving may worsen the situation and put you in more danger.

Heart attack prevention

Now that we have discussed the symptoms of a heart attack, let us move towards three  key factors that can help prevent a heart attack.  

Quit smoking and limit alcohol

Smoking increases the fatty deposits in the arteries which increases blood clotting and affects the blood lipid levels. Also, nicotine is the primary reason to accelerate the heart rate and increase blood pressure. Drinking too much alcohol can also raise blood pressure, increase cardiomyopathy, stroke, cancer, and other diseases.

Physically active

Doing any physical activity like weight training, endurance training, or playing any sport can boost our heart health. Even a 30 mins brisk walk every day can do wonders to your heart. Studies say that people who have achieved even a moderate level of fitness are less likely to die early than those with a low fitness level.

Good nutrition

The most important thing for any human body is the quality of food that we consume. Making the right food choices and having a healthy mix of protein, carbs, and fats in your diet can keep your heart health on top. It is also crucial to managing a ratio of bad vs good cholesterol. Intake of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains; includes low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, nontropical vegetable oils, and nuts; and limits intake of sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages, and red meats can boost your heart health.

Lastly, routine check-up and discussion about your risk factors with your healthcare provider before making any alterations is a must.  A heart attack is a serious and most fatal medical event that requires emergency treatment and any symptoms should never be taken lightly. Right know-how and awareness can improve outcomes and prevent complications in the future.

Coronary angioplasty also called stenting is the process to open or widen a blocked or narrowed coronary (heart) artery that occurs due to heart disease. This blockage happens because of the build-up of a waxy substance called plaque. Angioplasty surgery restores and enhances the normal blood flow in the affected arteries. Thus, rich oxygenated blood reaches your heart reducing the risk of stroke or heart disease and promoting quality improvement in life. Angioplasty is also often used during a heart attack to open a narrowed artery and reduce the amount of damage to your heart.

Angioplasty vs Bypass surgery

Angioplasty and bypass surgery are medical procedures that are used to treat clogged, blocked or narrowed arteries in the heart.

Bypass surgery is a major procedure that involves taking a healthy blood vessel from your leg, arm or chest and connecting it below and above the blocked arteries in your heart. With a new pathway, blood flow to the heart muscle improves. This takes much longer surgery as well as recovery time as compared to angioplasty. It usually involves doctors cutting the chest to get to the heart to conduct the surgery. The patient needs a longer hospital stay and around two weeks of recovery time.

On the other hand, angioplasty does not require major surgery, it usually requires a small incision in the leg, arm, or wrist and gets completed in an hour approximately. The procedure is less invasive and has a relatively rapid recovery process. As a result, angioplasty or stenting is preferred to be a better procedure over heart bypass surgery.

Undergoing a coronary angioplasty might be stressful. But who said life won’t be the same after the surgery? You can enjoy a quality-life after an angioplasty or heart bypass surgery. It usually takes a couple of weeks to start returning to normal life after the surgery. Angioplasty procedure improves the way of living in several ways.

  • Energized body

In coronary angioplasty, the blocked arteries in your heart are widened resulting in the restoration of the normal flow of oxygenated blood to your lungs. This also decreases the chances of heart diseases, stroke, or heart attack. The symptoms related to heart diseases like chest pain or troubled breathing also decrease. As a result, your body has more energy to carry out daily activities.

  • Flourishing Lifestyle

After an angioplasty procedure, people are advised to resort to a healthy diet, to stop habits like smoking or drinking, and to exercise more often. These changes in the lifestyle help in living a quality life after any heart surgery.

  • Stress-free life

Anger, anxiety, hypertension, and depression are all linked to heart disease. After having surgery, you will eventually be able to control these emotions. This will result in a sense of inner peace and a less stressful life, which in turn will keep your heart and blood vessels healthy.

  • Healthy diet

After angioplasty/stenting, it is of utmost importance to follow a healthy diet regime to live a disease-free life ahead. This will push your body to heal faster and reduce risk complications.  Doctors advise a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds to reduce your risk of heart disease and enhance your life.

  • Exercise to Energize

Exercising is considered to be one of the important practices on the path of living a healthy and improved life after coronary angioplasty. It helps to control the blood pressure, cholesterol levels, weight, fitness level and keeps you relaxed. And this is exactly what your body needs to retain a healthy living.

  • Take Medications on time

It is important to take the medicines prescribed by your doctor on time. They help to prevent the tiny clots from forming in your stent. Go to timely check-ups and examine your risk factors and problem areas. If you have any pre-existing conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, make sure they are under control. Once you are through with your post-surgery condition, you know to take care of yourself. A quality life awaits you after the surgery.

  • Keep a tab on your weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is necessary after coronary angioplasty to improve blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol. If you are overweight, ask your doctor or health-care provider to set up a weight-control program.

  • Get ample sleep

Lack of sleep can result in the worsening of your situation even after surgery. Try sticking to a regular bedtime, every night and avoid alcohol or caffeine that may harm your sleeping schedule.

  • Significant health improvements                                                                        

After successful coronary angioplasty, the body starts showing significant improvements in cardiac symptoms (decreased pain in the chest), increased tolerance (able to walk an extra mile without any trouble), better physical functioning and vitality. In case, you are still experiencing symptoms similar to those you had before the surgery, like chest pain or breathlessness, contact your doctor. Heath improves for better after the surgery to avoid complications like a heart attack or stroke in the future.

  • Maintain a positive perspective

Coronary angioplasty is a crucial emergency step or a planned procedure taken to prevent further life-threatening heart conditions. Undergoing an angioplasty procedure can be quite scary, but it’s necessary to accept the situation pragmatically to live a healthy life in the future. A positive outlook reinforces high-quality life.

Going through coronary angioplasty is an emotional rollercoaster. It substantially improves the perceived quality of life of the patient as compared to being dependent on medicines. Undergoing an angioplasty or stenting doesn’t mean your heart disease goes away. You’ll need to continue following healthy lifestyle habits and take medications as prescribed by your doctor. After the surgery, before you leave the hospital, you will be briefed about detailed instructions for the exercise, follow-up appointments, post-surgery care, medications, and resuming daily activities. It is necessary to follow these guidelines thoroughly to heal faster and enjoy a safer and quality life.


We have all heard about a loved one or a friend suffering from a sudden cardiac arrest, commonly known as a heart attack. But what exactly is a heart attack and how does it affect people? The answers to the questions are things that everyone needs to know about.

What is a heart attack?

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) also called Heart diseases are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels. The root causes of cardiovascular diseases is atherosclerosis (blockages in coronary arteries), a process mainly governed by lifestyle factors.

A heart attack also called a myocardial infarction occurs when the flow of the blood towards the heart is blocked, mostly due to the accumulation of fat, cholesterol, or other substances. This build-up results in the formation of plaque in the coronary arteries, ones that feed the heart. The plaque can form a blood clot which leads to interrupted blood flow thus damaging the heart muscles. This eventually leads to a heart attack.

How do you spot an oncoming heart attack?

A heart attack can be fatal depending on the severity of the attack. Heart attack symptoms can vary from person to person ranging from mild to severe. Some people may get a sudden heart attack whereas some may experience symptoms a few days or months in advance. Continuous and recurring chest-pain is the most recognizable symptom, and it is advised to seek medical assistance if the pain persists over a long duration. But there are a few symptoms that are easy to spot. These include:

  • Feeling of tightening, pressure, and pain in the chest
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Cold Sweat
  • Abdominal problems- indigestion, heartburn or stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

Other than this, the heart attack symptoms in men specifically include chest pain, chest discomfort or pressure, or shortness of breath. The heart attack symptoms in women include pressure or squeezing in the center of the chest, shortness of breath, and nausea.

What are the factors that cause a heart attack?

So far, we have learned how to spot a heart attack. But, it is essential to know the factors that lead up to it.

The main heart attack cause is the blockage of coronary arteries that result in a build-up of fatty substances. This forms plaque that may rupture and spills substances like cholesterol in the bloodstream, hampering the flow of the blood. A clot forms at the place of the rupture that blocks the blood flow in the coronary arteries making it impossible for the oxygen and nutrients to reach the heart. This condition is also called Ischemia. Such coronary artery disease causes heart failures.

There are two types of blockage/heart attacks you must know:

  • Partial Blockage- NSTEMI (non-ST elevation myocardial infarction): A less serious form of heart attack, the coronary arteries are partially or temporarily blocked. Proper medication and evaluation are required to diagnose this condition.
  • Complete blockage- STEMI (ST-elevation myocardial infarction): This is a form of heart attack that completely blocks the coronary artery resulting in a large part of heart muscle deprived of blood flow.

Am I at risk of getting a heart attack?

People of a certain age group and pre-existing conditions are at a higher risk of falling prey to a heart attack. These include:

  • Age: Women above the age of 55 and men above the age of 45 are more prone to a heart attack as compared to younger people.
  • Blood Pressure: High blood pressure damage your arteries increasing the change of blood pressure. Pre-existing conditions like obesity, diabetes, or cholesterol can worsen the situation and make you more likely to have a heart attack.
  • High Cholesterol levels or Triglyceride levels: There is an increased risk of heart attack if your body has high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides (a type of blood fat).
  • Diabetes: If your body is unable to produce insulin- the hormone secreted by the pancreas results in increased blood sugar levels in the body which in turn causes the risk of a heart attack.
  • Family history: If you have a family history of heart attacks, it increases the risk of heart disease.
  • Preeclampsia: A heart attack symptom in women is preeclampsia- a risk condition that causes high blood pressure in women during pregnancy. If any woman has a history of this condition, she is prone to heart attacks for a lifetime.
  • Other risk factors to consider: decreased physical activity, obesity, tobacco consumption, drugs, stress.

How do the doctors diagnose a heart attack?

If you are showing any heart attack symptoms you should be immediately admitted to a hospital. Firstly, your blood pressure, temperature, and pulse will be checked followed by you getting admitted to a heart-care unit. You will be connected to a heart monitor to diagnose your condition. There are varied tests done for diagnosis:

  • ECG (Electrocardiogram): A process done within the initial minutes of admitting the patient, an ECG test measures the electrical activity of your heart. It is a painless test that involves flat metal discs also called electrodes attached to your chest, arms, and legs. These electrodes have wires that are connected to the ECG machine that display the electrical impulses on the monitor or gets printed on the paper. This helps the doctor to know whether you are going through a heart attack.
  • Other tests are done for the diagnosis of a Heart attack: Blood tests to check leakage of proteins in your blood, chest x-ray, Echocardiogram (graphic outline of heart’s movement), Coronary angiography (detection of blockages in the coronary arteries), MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), etc.

What happens to a person during a heart attack?

Various complications can occur from a heart attack. Some people may experience a mild heart attack with no serious complications. Some may experience a major heart attack with varied grave complications. Following are some of the other complications that are commonly faced by people:

  • Arrhythmia: This includes irregular or abnormal heartbeats- beating too quickly, beating too slowly, or beating irregularly. A heart attack damages the heart muscles disrupting the electrical circuits that control the heart leading to Arrhythmia. Some arrhythmia causes mild symptoms such as dizziness, palpitations, or chest pain. However, some arrhythmia can be life-threatening and can result in death.
  • Heart Failure: When your heart is not able to pump blood to your body effectively, it results in heart failure. There are times when a heart attack damages heart tissues extensively leading to the inefficient working of muscles. The intensity of the condition depends on the situation and can be treated with proper medications or surgery.
  • Cardiac Shock: A cardiogenic shock leads to a sudden stopping of the heart without any warning. If the heart attack causes extreme damage to the heart muscles, your heart can no longer pump enough blood required for the functioning of the body, as a result causing this complication.
  • Heart Rupture: A serious complication – heart rupture refers to the splitting or rupturing of the heart’s muscles or walls. Usually, open-heart surgery is recommended.

What are the treatments involved?

The heart attack pain can become worse sometimes. Depending upon the situation, medical or surgical treatment is suggested by the doctor. A few treatments are as follows:

  • Oxygen Therapy: Oxygen therapy is kind of a treatment where extra oxygen is supplied to the body via nasal cannula, face mask, or a small tube inserted into your windpipe. This helps the body to work well.
  • Medicines such as Beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, Anticlotting medicines, Aspirin, etc. are given to maintain heart health or to reduce the risk of another heart attack.  They are often prescribed to prevent first or recurrent stroke.
  • Thrombolytics: These drugs, also called clot busters, help dissolve a blood clot that’s blocking blood flow to your heart. The earlier you receive a thrombolytic drug after a heart attack, the greater the chance you’ll survive and have less heart damage.
  • PCI – Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention: Also known as coronary angioplasty and stenting, in this treatment, the doctors insert a long, thin tube or catheter via an artery in your groin or wrist to widen the blocked coronary artery.
  • Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery: This surgery is mostly done in emergencies, at the time of heart attack. The bypass surgery involves taking a blood vessel from another part of the body and attaching it to a place beyond a blocked coronary artery to improve the blood flow.

How do I stay clear of a heart attack?

Prevention is always better than cure. Take preventive steps to avoid having a heart attack or even another heart attack. Resorting to a healthy lifestyle is a paramount heart attack prevention measure to avoid heart attack as well as its complications.

  • A healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle: Improve the health of your heart by maintaining a healthy weight, avoid smoking and drinking, exercise regularly. Managing stress by indulging in yoga and focusing on yourself helps in heart attack prevention. Control conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol by consulting a doctor.
  • Medical Monitoring: Consult a doctor and monitor your heart condition regularly especially if you have pre-existing conditions like high blood pressure or high levels of cholesterol. Take medications that can reduce the risk of heart attack and help your heart to work efficiently.

Post-Surgery care

After a heart attack, the condition of the heart tissues and muscles continuously deteriorate. Hence, it is very important to undergo immediate heart attack treatment.

The doctor will assess your situation and recommend the medications. You must stick to the routine set by your doctor so that you can steer clear of relapse or any additional complications.

To conclude, a heart attack can be a traumatic experience, but if you maintain a balanced lifestyle and keep an eye out for symptoms, you can stay clear of it. If a person does show the signs that they are getting a heart attack, it is important to immediately reach out to a doctor and seek medical assistance. Even if it isn’t a heart attack, it is always best to be completely sure and safe!

What is a Stent?

A stent resembles a tiny tube, which is used to treat diseases where the blood vessels get clogged due to the accumulation of fat, cholesterol and even calcium. Normally, these blood vessels are involved in supplying blood to the rest of the body from the heart, including the heart muscles. The majority of the stents are composed out of wire mesh and are permanent. Some stents used for bigger blood vessels are also composed of fabric and are termed as stent-grafts.

A different class of stents is manufactured from materials that get dissolved or absorbed over time in the body. Stents are implanted within the affected blood vessels, which prevents them from getting blocked. Stents are also available in a drug-coated variant, where they are coated with drugs that slowly get released in the bloodstream. These drugs prevent the blood vessels from getting blocked.

Why a stent is required?

In case fats present in the body get collected inside an artery, it can decrease the flow of blood to your heart itself and can lead to chest pain and eventually cause heart disease. Also, the accumulated contents in the vessel lumen (referred to as plaque) can lead to the formation of a blood clot, which upon rupturing, can block the vessel and disrupt the normal blood flow to the heart and can lead to a heart attack due to the death of the tissues which are deprived of blood. Stents reduce your subsequent risk of heart vessel disease and can be used even for treating an ongoing heart attack.

What are the different types of stents?

There are two primary types of stents: 1) Bare Metal Stents (BMS) 2) Drug-eluting Stents (DES). BMS gives support to the blood vessel to aid in preventing its blockage post angioplasty. On the other hand, A DES is a BMS coated with a unique drug coating added for reducing the risk of re-blocking of arteries. In a DES, the drug gradually gets released from the drug coating overtime preventing the reformation of blockages during the maximal risk period, wherein a block can be formed. In a DES, the stent is coated with a special polymer, which contains and preserves the drug during the stent placement procedure. As soon as the stent is placed, it aids in controlling the release of the drug into the blood vessel walls. In this way, the polymer helps in an equally distributed drug release from the stent. The polymer for DES is designed to permit a consistent and controlled drug release from the surface of the stent into the walls of the artery. There are two types of drug-eluting stents:

  • Permanent Polymer DES: In this type of stent, the polymer stays on the stent permanently, even after all the drug has been released.
  • Bioabsorbable Polymer Drug-Eluting Stent: In this type of stent, the polymer degrades shortly with the release of the drug. This helps better healing by eliminating long-term polymer exposure.

The doctor may prefer a BMS or a DES based on the unique needs of each patient. Each type of stents has its inherent advantages and drawbacks which should be discussed well in advance with the doctor. A DES cannot be used in you in the following cases:

1) You are allergic to the drug, the polymer or metals (stainless steel, platinum, chromium, cobalt, etc.) used in the stent.

2) You cannot tolerate anti-clotting or anti-platelet drugs.

3) You have a blockage that does not permit proper stent placement.

4) Your doctor feels you are not suitable for stent placement for a particular reason. Still, stent placement is associated with complications like any other invasive procedure.

Process of stent implantation

  • Your doctor will first make a small cut in a blood vessel located in your abdomen, arm, or neck to insert a stent in your body.
  • He/she then inserts a small tube known as a catheter through the vessel to the artery which is clogged. The tube contains a tiny balloon at its end, that your doctor will inflate in your clogged artery. This process will widen your artery and restore the blood flow through the deprived portion. The stent will then be placed inside the artery and the rest of the contents (balloon and catheter) will be taken out. The placed stent will keep the artery open to keep the usual blood flow. The entire process is estimated to last only an hour but mostly, you will be required to stay in the hospital for a night for observation of any adverse events.
  • Risks may include:

1) Hemorrhage at the spot of tube insertion.

2) Blood vessel damage at the time of insertion.

3) Infection.

4) Arrhythmia i.e.Improper beating of the heart, whether irregular, too fast or too slow.

5) On rare occasions (1-2%), people who are implanted with a stent, develop a clot at the stent placement site, further elevating the risk of occurrence of a heart attack (myocardial infarction) or stroke. This risk is maximum during the first couple of months of post-procedure. Hence, your doctor will recommend you to take aspirin or any other blood thinners to prevent clot formation.

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What are dissolving stents and what are their benefits?

Traditional metal stents have been associated with several drawbacks for a long time. A metallic stent needs to be placed permanently in the blood vessel for the prevention of re-narrowing or post dilating a clogged artery with a balloon. However, the permanent presence of a metal stent forms a core for forming a clot of blood within the stent which could be fatal for the patient. The principle behind a dissolving or a bioresorbable stent is to overcome the drawbacks of metallic stents. It prevents re-occurrence of narrowing during the period of maximum risk and ultimately gets dissolved withdrawing the risk of formation of any blood clot.

Are stents effective in the long term in reducing the chance of another heart attack?

Yes, certain stents (DES) can reduce the chances of future heart attacks to some extent but regular medicine intake and lifestyle modifications are the most vital components in reducing the risk of a heart attack even after stent implantation.

How long does a stent last?

A stent is a tube-like structure and normally metallic. It is designed to maintain the lumen of the blood vessel. Coronary arteries are the blood vessels that carry blood to the heart muscle. Stents are placed through a procedure in which a catheter is placed in the artery present in the abdomen and guided up to the heart. An angioplasty where the narrowed artery due to blockage is dilated via a balloon dilation normally happens before the stent placement.

Some patients with stents implanted 30 years ago are performing normally even now. However, stents can also develop blockages. Lately, drug-eluting stents have been used largely in patients to prevent the development of blockages after stent placement. These stents are coated with drugs to lessen the risk of formation of blockages. Patients who already get stents implanted carry the risk of blockages at different locations in different arteries. Aspirin therapy and control of cholesterol and triglycerides through diet, medicine or both do appear to decrease risk.

Harms/Risks of Stenting

  • You may get an allergic reaction
  • Angioplasty can lead to hemorrhage, blood vessel damage, or even heart damage, or arrhythmia.
  • Rarely, some potential complications such as heart attack, stroke, or renal failure can also occur.
  • A scar tissue formation can happen inside your stent post stenting procedure necessitating another procedure for removing it.
  • Stenting also carries a risk of blood clot formation which needs medicines for prevention.
  • It cannot ultimately cure your CAD. You have to continue managing your contributing risk factors for CAD such as hypertension, overweight, diabetes, or high cholesterol to prevent a future event.
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Living with Stent

  • Saves your life and alleviates damage to your heart muscles at the time of heart attack by replenishing blood flow to your heart.
  • Immediately relieves/decreases symptoms of heart disease.
  • Reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke in the future.
  • Stent placement may diminish your requirement of a CABG (Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting).
  • Stenting is comparatively much less invasive versus CABG and also has a much short-lived recovery period.