Harvard Heart Letter

Heart Beat: Clots can form in stents years after placement

Wire-mesh stents were invented to prop open heart arteries that balloon angioplasty had just cleared of cholesterol-laden plaque. Coating them with drugs helped fix an early problem: cells from the artery wall surrounding the stent sometimes grew over and around the stent and clogged the space through which blood flows.

But without a protective coating of artery-wall cells, a stent is an attractive surface for blood-clot formation. If such a clot is large enough, it can trigger a heart attack. This is called stent thrombosis.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »