What Is a Stent and How Does It Work

Dr. Graham Wong, Cardiologist, MD, MPH, FRCPC, FACC, discusses What Is a Stent and How Does It Work

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Dr. Graham Wong, Cardiologist, MD, MPH, FRCPC, FACC, discusses What Is a Stent and How Does It Work
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Graham Wong, MD, MPH, FRCPC, FACC, Cardiologist

Duration: 1 minute, 11 seconds

The process in which arteries are opened with a balloon, known as balloon angioplasty, and then implantation of a stent, coronary stenting, is collectively known as percutaneous coronary intervention, or PCI. PCI is one of the most common cardiac procedures done around the world.

The procedure is done by an interventional cardiologist in which a patient who has known blockages has a small wire placed either in an artery of the arm or an artery in the leg, passed across the blockage in the artery, and then the artery is stretched open with a balloon.

After that, to prevent the artery from closing shut again, a piece of metal, called a “stent,” is implanted to scaffold the artery open. For those of you who want to know what a stent looks like, a coronary stent is very similar in size and shape to this spring that I pulled out of a ballpoint pen.

The characteristics that make for a good stent is that it has to be flexible, and yet radially strong enough to be able to be passed into a vessel and yet strong enough to not collapse and to keep the artery open.

Presenter: Dr. Graham Wong, Cardiologist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Cardiologist

Video Quiz ( 46 participated.)

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:


Patients who have a blocked artery in the heart can benefit from balloon angioplasty and the insertion of a stent. 


Stents are inserted by a small wire that goes into the artery of either the arm or leg.


A stent is something used only in patients that have suffered a heart attack.


Balloon angioplasty is used to open up the blockage in the artery before inserting a stent.

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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