In early October, 2019, democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders underwent a surgical procedure to place stents in order to treat a blocked artery. Sanders had the procedure after experiencing discomfort in his chest while on the campaign trail. If you are a family caregiver to an older adult who has had a stent procedure, knowing more about stents and how they function may help you to care for the senior better.

How Do Stents Work?

A stent is a very small tube made from wire mesh. They are used to prop open an artery that his blocked or narrowed. By placing a stent, doctors hope to prevent chest pain caused by reduced flow of blood to the heart or to stop a heart attack from happening, which can occur if blood flow is completely blocked.

Stents are typically placed during an angioplasty. The stent is placed inside of a catheter tube. There is a balloon in the tip of the catheter. The stent is collapsed around the balloon. When the catheter is placed into the artery the balloon is inflated to open the artery, which also opens the stent. Once the artery has been opened, the balloon is deflated and the catheter is removed, leaving the stent in place. The stent remains there permanently.

What Happens After a Stent is Placed?

Stents are advantageous to certain people with blocked or narrowed arteries because they prevent the artery from reclosing. In people who have angioplasty without having a stent placed, about one third experience stenosis, which means the artery starts getting narrow again. There are two kinds of stents. One of them is coated with medications that help to prevent the artery from closing again. The second kind is not coated and is called a bare metal stent. In cases where the stent does narrow again, the doctor may recommend coronary bypass surgery.

After stent placement surgery, the older adult will probably be placed on antiplatelet agents, which are medications that keep clots from forming. There are a few different kinds of antiplatelet agents, including aspirin and a P2Y12 inhibitor. Aspirin is usually used for life. The length of time an inhibitor is taken depends on several factors, including whether the senior had a heart attack and which kind of stent was placed.

Your aging relative is likely to need some help at home after having a stent placed. They will probably have some restrictions, such as being unable to lift heavy objects or engage in strenuous activity. It can help to have senior care available to assist them. A senior care provider can keep an eye on the older adult to ensure they don’t overexert themselves. Senior care providers can take care of the things that the older adult may not be able to do for a while, such as cleaning the house or driving to the grocery store. In addition, a senior care provider can remind your aging relative to take their medications to prevent complications.

Sources
https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/heart-failure/news/20191002/bernie-sanders-treated-for-blocked-artery
https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/what-is-stent#1
https://www.heart.org/-/media/data-import/downloadables/1/1/4/pe-abh-what-is-a-stent-ucm_300452.pdf

IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE IS CONSIDERING SENIOR CARE IN YOUNGTOWN, AZ, CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT GOLDEN HEART SENIOR CARE. CALL TODAY (623) 748-3301.