Ask the doctor: Do stents wear out and need to be replaced?

Ask the doctor

Do stents wear out and need to be replaced?

Q Almost 10 years ago, I had a stent implanted to prop open my blocked left anterior descending artery. At the time, my doctor told me, "This should hold you for five years or so." Are stents like cars, requiring periodic trade-ins? I haven't had any problems so far.

A Three main arteries course along the outside of the heart and supply the heart muscle with blood. The left anterior descending artery is the most important of these because it nourishes nearly half of the heart muscle.

Almost immediately after a wire-mesh stent is implanted, new layers of tissue begin to grow over and around it. Eventually, the stent becomes part of the artery wall. When the healing process is excessive, the new tissue can close off the space inside the stent and block blood flow. This is called in-stent restenosis. It almost always happens within the first six months. You have had your stent for almost 10 years with no problems, a sign it has done its job well.

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