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Angioplasty / Stenting (Cardiac Intervention)

The interventional cardiologists at Barnes-Jewish & Washington University Heart & Vascular Center have advanced the techniques of angioplasty and heart stent implantation. They have evolved new strategies for approaching the most complex cases, including patients with previous failed bypass surgery and those otherwise considered inoperable.

Our cardiologists are actively involved in testing new heart stent design, as well as teaching advanced techniques to visiting physicians and training the next generation of cardiologists.

We are able to offer angioplasty, stenting and a wide spectrum of cardiac intervention services, some of which are unavailable elsewhere.

Drug-Eluting Stents

Percutaneous transcatheter coronary angioplasty (PTCA), or balloon angioplasty, is a procedure that breaks up plaque in a coronary artery by expanding a balloon in the blood vessel. One common procedure used in PTCA is stent placement. A stent is a tiny, expandable metal mesh inserted into the newly ballooned area of the artery. Once the stent has been placed, tissue will begin to form over it within a few days after the procedure.

The newest stents (drug-eluting stents) have medicine that is released into the vessel wall to minimize "scar tissue" or re-stenosis - the return of the blockage. The effect of this medication is to prevent further narrowing of the stented blood vessel. The Heart & Vascualr Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri was one of the nation's first heart centers to research these drug-eluting stents.

After the heart stent procedure, it is necessary to take a medicine such as aspirin, Plavix, or other platelet-blocking drugs to prevent blood clots from forming inside the stent.

Our heart specialists perform complex interventions in cases where other techniques have failed, providing options to patients hoping to avoid heart bypass surgery, or to those who have previously failed bypass surgery.

To make an appointment with a Washington University heart or vascular specialist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, or to learn more about balloon angioplasty or heart stents, call 855.925.0631.