What Are Coronary Stents?

Posted on September 13, 2021

Eight and a half percent of Canadians are living with some sort of heart disease, and around one percent of them have a history of heart attacks. It would benefit every Canadian to understand as much as they could about heart diseases to prevent themselves from tragedy. 

Coronary Stents are some of the most important devices for the treatment of heart disorders. They're tube-shaped and get placed in the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart. They keep the arteries open in the event of clots. 

Stents can seem drastic, and often change people's lives. However, they're important in maintaining heart health. 

This article will walk you through all you'll ever need to know about Coronary Stents, and hopefully teach you a thing or two about heart health along the way.

Who Qualifies for A Coronary Stent?

People with obstructive artery diseases generally qualify for stents if they suffer from chest pain/tightness and shortness of breath. Usually, these symptoms increase during exercise and high emotion. 

Stents are generally used as a replacement for bypass surgery in some patients. Bypass surgery is one that restores blood flow to a blocked artery. Patients with multiple blocked arteries might be better to get double or triple bypass instead of a stent. 

Generally, at least seventy percent blockage is needed before a stent can be placed. It's only used after changes in diet and lifestyle haven't worked to alleviate the issue, or if the risk of heart attack/failure is high.  

Quick heart scans, such as echocardiograms, can't determine whether or not you'll need a stent accurately. You'll need something more in-depth, such as a coronary angiogram. You might also be required to complete an exercise cardio stress test. 

How Long Do Coronary Stents Last?

Stents are permanent. This is why many people/doctors prefer bypass surgeries. Though the bypass surgery is life-altering and requires a long recovery, ultimately it can feel less overwhelming than putting something inside someone's body. 

There's a small change that narrowing will return in the arteries, even after the coronary stent is put in. That usually happens within 6-9 months of the placement of the stent. One can treat the narrowing of a stent with the placement of another stent. 

However, getting a stent in one artery doesn't lower your risk of needing stents in other arteries. If you don't take your medications, don't alter your lifestyle, and don't reduce stress, you may well end up needing more stents. 

Some things you can do to make sure you don't need another stent are to give up smoking and maintain clean eating. Check out our article on heart-healthy diets

What Are the Different Types of Coronary Stents?

The standard type of stent is a bare-metal stent. These are simple, tubular, meshy devices that don't have any drugs in them. Their main goal is to keep the arteries widened. 

Drug-eluting stents are stents coated with medications that prevent inflammation and narrowing. They can reduce the risk of narrowing by up to ten percent.  This is especially important for diabetics, who are at a high risk of re-narrowing. 

Stent graphs are fabric tubes that are used to support specific weak points in the arteries, called aneurysms. 

What Are Coronary Stents Made From?

Coronary stents are generally made of medical-grade stainless steel or cobalt alloy metal. Some stents are made from biodegradable material, however, and are designed to dissolve in the body. This reduces the development of scar tissue. 

What Kind of Maintenance Do Coronary Stents Require?

In order for everything to go off without a hitch after the installation of a stent, you need to make sure you take care of your stent right.

Keep the insertion area of your stent dry for 24 to 48 hours. Make sure you watch out for any sign of infection where the catheter was inserted. If the area becomes warm and red or begins to drain, this main means there's an infection; in this case, you should call a doctor

You should also watch out for any bleeding in the area where the catheter was inserted. Call a doctor if you begin to bleed. Then lie flat and apply pressure to the area. 

If you have chest pain that's frequent or severe, call 911 or go to the emergency room. 

It's important that you stay away from lifting heavy objects while the area is still healing. Stay away from any strenuous exercise, and abstain from sexual activity for at least a week. 

While it's usually safe to get the area wet after 48 hours, avoid swimming and bathing for a week. The change in pressure can cause problems.   

You should avoid smoking for 24 hours. We also must highly recommend quitting smoking after a stent gets put in. Cigarette smoke has proven many times to increase the risk for heart disease and can change your blood's chemistry, which is never a good sign. 

In general, take it easy, tell people when issues are arising, and stay away from the water. 

Stent Cards

Stent cards are an important part of taking care of your health after having a stent placed in.

Your other doctors need to know exactly what's going on with you to treat you safely. The stent card tells your doctors exactly where your stent is in your body and the date of the procedure. Your stent card will also have your doctor's contact information, in case another doctor of your wishes to contact your stent doctor.

browsing the Canada health care plan

Do the Canadian Health Care Programs Cover Coronary Stents? 

Public health insurance in Canada usually doesn't cover stents. However, you might not even want to rely on public health insurance for heart problems in the first place. Though Canadian healthcare is easy to come by, it doesn't always look positive for everyone.

The high volumes of healthcare mean that many Canadians have to experience long wait times to receive care. In the case of heart issues, you don't want to make yourself wait longer than you have to. It's best to go with a private health plan to make sure that you're covered in the event of a sudden illness. 

Do Private Canadian Health Care Plans Cover Coronary Stents?

By having heart disease, you're considered a higher risk to an insurance company. The higher risk means that insurance companies feel as though they're taking a higher financial risk in insuring you. This is because you're more likely to pass away before making all of your payments to them — they'd have to pay out your policy, without getting much in return. 

However, it's not impossible to find an insurance company that will cover you. Usually, you'll have to pay higher premiums in order to get coverage.

It's important to note that your diet and lifestyle will impact your relationship with your insurance company, not just your own personal health. You're less of a liability if you're taking all of the steps to make sure that you live as long as possible. 

Unfortunately, if you're younger when you're diagnosed with heart disease, you're going to have to pay a higher premium than those diagnosed when they're older.

The cause of your heart disease might affect whether or not you're covered as well. If your heart disease was genetic, they'll likely look favourably on you. It means you've done everything in your power to prevent it. 

The prognosis of a doctor is important as well. If your doctor believes that your heart disease is a minor speed bump, then your life insurance policy will likely not wind up affected. However, if your doctor believes the issue to be worse, this can come back to bite you. 

The medications prescribed to you can help you in your case for a good life insurance policy as well. 

Coronary Stents Make Things Complicated

The world is tough for people with heart disease. As well as your everyday life-changing with the insertion of devices like coronary stents, insurance companies look at people with heart conditions unfavourably. 

This is why it's important to make sure you end up with the right insurance company. Insurdinary works to make sure everyone ends up with the right policy for them. If you work with us, we'll help you find an insurance company that's sympathetic to your plight. 

For more information, get a quote with us today. 

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