Each year, some 600,000 people in the United States get an artery-opening stent (a tiny mesh tube used to prop open a blood vessel), usually to restore blood flow to the heart. Afterward, most take aspirin and another anti-clotting medicine for up to a year.
Within the first two years of getting a stent, an estimated one in five people needs surgery for something other than a heart problem. That can be dangerous because anti-clotting medications raise bleeding risk, but stopping the drugs boosts the risk of a blood clot.
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