Why do I need a stent?
The stent is a wire mesh tube. When there is a build-up of fatty deposits in the coronary arteries blood flow to the heart muscle is compromised because of the narrowing. If this blood flow is compromised it causes chest pain (angina). If a part of this breaks off a clot is formed. This blocks the blood flow partially or completely and this is a heart attack.
To open the artery your doctor will bring you for an angioplasty. A catheter with a balloon tip is inserted into the artery through your groin or wrist. The catheter is brought to the point of the narrowing and the balloon is inflated. This widens the vessel. The balloon is then deflated and the catheter is withdrawn.
When a stent id used it is collapsed over the balloon. When the balloon is inflated the stent expand and forms a scaffolding to keep the artery open. When the balloon is withdrawn the stent stays permanently in place. This maintains the widening of the artery.
My doctor told me I was not suitable for stenting?
This can sometimes occur. The reason for this is the artery may be too small and the stenting would damage the wall of the artery. Also the blockage might be on a bend in the artery. The stent is in a straight line so is not suitable for it to mould to the bend.
What can I do after a stent, am I cured?
No, unfortunately you are not cured. Heart disease, the narrowing of the arteries, is a progressive disease. It is important that you comply with your medication, take regular exercise, reduce fat in your diet, stop smoking, manage your diabetes and take care of your mental health
What is Cardiac Rehabilitation?
When most people think of rehabilitation they might think of learning to walk or run again after a period of illness or after an injury. Cardiac rehabilitation is slightly different. It is a programme examines your risk factors of heart disease and helps you manage these risks through exercise and lifestyle modification.
Who is this programme suitable for?
If you have had a heart attack and/or stenting would benefit from this type of programme. Also if you have any of the risk factors of heart disease this programme would be suitable for you. .
What does it involve?
Cardiac rehabilitation involves a preliminary assessment where your risk factors will be identified. A baseline exercise test is then usually performed. During this test your maximum heart rate is registered and your training heart rate for optimum benefit is calculated. During the test your efficiency of movement is also examined. The purpose of the test is to assess your baseline ability so that you optimise your benefit during a training programme.
Following the assessment you will then commence a training regime with education on how to reduce your risk factors. Cardiac rehabilitation has been found to improve your energy levels and ability as well as improving your social and psychological well-being.
What are the risk factors of heart disease?
The risk factors of heart disease are smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, depression, diabetes, being overweight, obesity, family history and age.
Cardiac rehabilitation can reduce your risk of another cardiac event by one third. It can quarter your risk of dying from another cardiac event.
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