Stents What to Expect Before Getting a Stent

Your healthcare provider can determine if you need a stent by using certain tests and procedures. If you need a stent, talk to your provider about how to prepare for the procedure.

Diagnostic tests and procedures

To diagnose narrowed arteries or an aortic aneurysm, your provider may order some of the following tests and procedures.

  • Chest magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) looks for aneurysms in the aorta. This test works well for detecting aneurysms and pinpointing their size and exact location.
  • Computer tomography angiography (CTA) and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) take pictures of your blood vessels. These tests may give your provider more information about the flow of blood and whether arteries are narrowed or have aneurysms.
  • Coronary angiography measures how blood flows through your coronary arteries. This type of test involves injecting dye into your blood so that your blood vessels can be seen by X-ray.
  • Fractional flow reserve can help determine how narrow the artery is. This is an added test done during CTA or coronary angiography to check the blood pressure in a specific artery.
  • Ultrasound looks at whether plaque has narrowed or blocked your carotid or peripheral arteries. It is also used to see if you have an aneurysm and where it is located. This painless test uses high-energy sound waves to create pictures of the insides of your blood vessels.
  • Echocardiography (echo) evaluates the structure and function of your heart using sound waves to create moving pictures.
  • Nuclear imaging checks whether the blood is flowing normally to the heart. Your provider will inject a tracer substance that shows whether the heart is receiving enough blood flow.

To diagnose narrowed airways, you may need some additional lung tests and procedures.

  • Bronchoscopy determines the location and severity of the narrowed airway.
  • Chest CT scan looks at whether one of your airways is being affected by a tumor, pneumonia, mucus, or other problem.
  • Lung spirometry tests measure how well your lungs are working.

Preparing for the stenting procedure

You may need more tests such as blood tests, EKG, chest X-ray, or chest CT scans, to prepare for the procedure to place a stent. Tell your provider about medicines you take, other surgical procedures you have had, and any medical conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease, or sleep apnea.

You will be asleep for most stent procedures, so plan to have someone else take you home. You may go home the same day or after a few days, depending on the type of stent and your other medical conditions.

Before your procedure, you will be given detailed information, including:

  • When to stop eating or drinking
  • If and when you should start or stop taking medicines
  • When to arrive at the hospital and where to go
  • How long you should expect to stay
  • What happens during the procedure
  • What to expect after the procedure, including potential complications, such as bleeding or soreness
  • What to do after the procedure, including what medicines to take
  • How to live with your stent(s)
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