An aortic stent is a tiny tube-like structure that is inserted into the aorta to prop it open. There are a few types of aortic stents that physicians use today. These are often made from metal, and some are covered with fabric. Some aortic stents also release medications to help keep the artery open.
The first metal stent was made from stainless steel, and it was inserted into a patient in 1986. By 2011, metal stents were typically constructed from cobalt chromium alloy. This metal mesh tube is often inserted into the aorta while it is collapsed. After the stent reaches its destination, a balloon on the end of a catheter is inflated causing the stent to open, in turn keeping the walls of the aorta open. These walls, over time, will usually grow around the stent.
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A fabric stent, or fabric-covered stent, is another common type of aortic stent. These are usually metal stents covered with a special synthetic fabric. When repairing an aortic aneurysm, such as an abdominal aortic aneurysm, this type of aortic stent is often referred to as a stent graft.
An abdominal aortic aneurysm is one of the most common types of aneurysms that will occur in the aorta. This occurs when a portion of the aorta located in the abdomen bulges out. Since this section of the artery can rupture, causing serious medical problems, it is important to correct the problem as soon as possible.
An aortic stent graft is one of the most common ways to remedy an abdominal aortic aneurysm. To do this, doctors will usually insert the stent, which is around a catheter, into the artery near the groin. The stent is then threaded up through the aorta to the aneurysm, using internal imaging. When it is in position, a balloon on the end of the catheter will then be inflated, causing the stent to open and attach itself to the wall of the aorta. Once the aortic stent is in place, the balloon is then deflated, and it is removed along with the catheter.
A bare-metal stent and a covered stent may be designed to release medication. Drug-eluting stents are treated with medications. These medications typically help prevent blood clots, as well as help keep the aorta from closing again. The medication in these types of aortic stents are usually time released, meaning that only a little of the drug is released periodically.