Stents Living With a Stent

If you have a stent because of coronary heart disease or carotid artery disease, you are still at risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. Learn the signs of a heart attack and the signs of a stroke and call 9–1–1 if you or someone else needs help.

Receive routine follow-up care

A stent is a treatment, but it cannot cure your underlying condition. It is important to have routine medical care if you have a stent. Ask your healthcare provider how often you should schedule office visits and tests.

  • Talk about when to follow up with specialists such as a cardiologist or pulmonologist. If you have an airway stent, you may need a bronchoscopy, a chest X-ray, or a CT scan to confirm that the stent has not moved. These tests can also check for signs of complications. If you have a stent graft to treat an aortic  aneurysm , you may need regular imaging tests for the rest of your life to make sure that there is no blood leaking into the aneurysm and to monitor your stent graft.
  • Take medicines to prevent problems. Do not change your medicine or skip doses unless your provider tells you to. After getting an artery stent, you will need antiplatelet medicines, or blood thinners, to prevent blood clots from forming. You may need to take blood thinners for more than a month after you get a carotid or peripheral artery stent or for more than a year after getting a coronary stent. Antiplatelet medicines include aspirin, clopidogrel, dipyridamole, and ticlopidine. Bleeding is a possible side effect, which can make any other needed surgery much riskier.
  • Ask how long before you can resume normal physical activity. It will depend on the type of stent you have and your health condition before the procedure.

Make healthy lifestyle changes

Your provider may recommend the following healthy lifestyle changes to lower your risk of needing future procedures or experiencing complications such as a heart attack or stroke:

  • Aim for a healthy weight
  • Stay physically active
  • Choose heart-healthy foods
  • Manage stress
  • Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke
  • Get enough good-quality sleep

Watch for problems from vascular stents

Be on the lookout for complications from a coronary stent, carotid stent, or stent graft.

  • Blood clots can form within the stent. Your risk of getting a blood clot is much higher if you stop taking your blood thinners before your provider says to do so. Blood clots can lead to life-threatening conditions, such as heart attack, stroke, and venous thromboembolism.
  • Restenosis is a re-narrowing of the section of the artery where there is a stent. The artery can become narrow again when there is too much tissue growth inside it. With a coronary stent, restenosis can lead to a heart attack. With a carotid stent, a stroke can occur. Restenosis may or may not cause symptoms. If it does occur, you may need a new stent or another procedure.
  • A stent graft can leak or move from its place. Symptoms may be similar to those you experienced before the aortic repair procedure, or you may have no symptoms. Your provider will use imaging to monitor your stent graft.

heart smart fact sheet

Heart Smart Basics: What to Know to Keep Yours Healthy

Learn basic facts about your heart and what questions to discuss with your healthcare provider to help you stay healthy.

Watch for problems from lung stents

Call your provider right away if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Breathing problems
  • Changes in your cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • High fever
  • Persistent bad breath

Those symptoms may result from complications of your airway stent.

  • An airway stent can migrate, or move, and may require another procedure to fix or remove it. This occurs more often with silicone stents.
  • Lung infection is another possible complication from an airway stent.
  • Mucus can get caught in the stent and block it.
  • Tissue can grow into the stent if the condition that caused your narrowed airway causes it to become blocked again. This happens more often with metal stents.

look out for your lungs

Look Out for Your Lungs: 5 Steps to Keep Your Lungs Healthy

Learn about ways to take care of your lungs and help your loved ones breathe easy.

Last updated on