Stents Before You Get a Stent

Your healthcare provider can help decide whether you need a stent by using certain tests and procedures. If you need a stent, your provider will talk to you about how to prepare for it.

Diagnostic tests and procedures

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

  • Chest magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) looks for aneurysms in the aorta. This test works well to find aneurysms and pinpoint their size and exact location.
  • Computed tomography angiography (CTA) and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) take pictures of your blood vessels. These tests may give your provider more information about blood flow 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, or how much force is needed for the blood to flow through the artery.
  • Ultrasound looks at whether  plaque  has narrowed or blocked your carotid or peripheral arteries. It is also used to see whether 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 or ECG) 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 substance they can trace through your bloodstream to see whether the heart is receiving enough blood flow.

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

  • Bronchoscopy determines the location and severity of the narrowed airway.
  • Chest computed tomography (CT) scans look 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 and electrocardiogram, 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 afterward. 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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