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What Is a Stent and How Does It Treat Heart Disease?

coronary stent

South Denver Cardiology Associates is turning 50 this year and to honor this momentous occasion, we’re going to periodically highlight some of the most important cardiology innovations of the last 50 years. In this post, we’re going to review the coronary stent and discuss the ways in which it’s improved cardiac care over the last several decades.

A stent is a small, expandable, metal mesh tube used in angioplasty procedures to open blocked coronary arteries. The procedure restores blood flow to your heart and avoids the need for open-heart surgery. By keeping your coronary artery open, stents lower your risk of chest pain and have become a critical tool in the treatment of a heart attack.

History of the Coronary Stent

The first stent was inserted into a human coronary artery in 1986 by Dr. Jacques Puel. The procedure was performed in France, and shortly afterward, Dr. Ulrich Sigwart used a stent during a heart procedure in Switzerland. However, it wasn’t until the FDA approved the Palmaz-Schatz stent by Johnson & Johnson in 1994 that stents became widely used in angioplasty procedures throughout the United States.

Before stents, individuals suffering a heart attack typically had to undergo bypass surgery. These patients often spent weeks in the hospital recovering from an extremely invasive surgical procedure. Now that stents are used in angioplasty procedures, patients are typically able to leave the hospital after a few days.

Within a few years of receiving FDA approval, stents became the default procedure to open blocked coronary arteries. It provided a significant improvement over its predecessor procedure, the balloon angioplasty, by delivering more consistent results.

Over the years, advances in stent technology allowed for even better surgical outcomes. One of the biggest advances was the drug-eluting stent, approved by the FDA in 2003. This second-generation stent significantly improved the success rate of procedures. Other advances in stent technology have made them smaller and more deliverable. The use of smaller stents has allowed for the treatment of more complex cases.

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Stent Procedures at South Denver Cardiology Associates

coronary stent procedureDr. Peter Levitt, a former Cardiologist at South Denver Cardiology Associates, was one of the first cardiologists in the state to perform stent procedures. He was one of the pioneers of the procedure once stents received FDA approval in 1994. Dr. Levitt came to South Denver Cardiology Associates in 2007 and worked on our team for 10 years. He brought his expertise to the group, elevating our results with stent procedures and shortening hospital stays for our patients.

Dr. Levitt specialized in cardiovascular disease. During a career spanning nearly 50 years, he helped pioneer many of the techniques commonly used today. His presence on the South Denver Cardiology staff raised the bar for the care we were able to provide to our patients over the last 15 years.

Providing the Comprehensive Cardiology Care for the Denver Metro Area

South Denver Cardiology Associates provides comprehensive cardiac services to help you maintain optimal heart health. Our team includes some of the finest cardiologists along the Front Range. All of our full-time physicians are board-certified, and many have pioneered innovative diagnostic and life-saving procedures. In addition, our cardiologists are actively engaged in clinical research programs which provide our patients with access to cutting edge treatments and devices.

Whether you’re seeking preventive care, diagnostic testing, interventional cardiology treatments or assistance with heart healthy lifestyle adjustments, our team can address your needs.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

South Denver Cardiology
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As with any health concerns, your specific treatment program should be discussed thoroughly with your primary care physician as well as any specialists who may need to be consulted – like a cardiologist.

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