Heart Stent Complications: Side Effects & Risks of Heart Stents

The best treatment to avoid complications of the heart, blood vessels, the brain and the rest of the body’s vital organs is prevention. Prevention encompasses observing a healthy lifestyle such as eating a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise. These habits can go a long way in prolonging a person’s life and not just any kind of life, but quality life.

Risks & Complications of Heart Stents

  • Heart stents are indicated for cardiovascular diseases wherein vital blood vessels such as the arteries become clogged.
  • The most common cause of clogged arteries is fatty deposits.
  • Fatty deposits come from a high fat diet and obesity.
  • These fatty deposits can start thinly, coating arterial walls until it becomes so thick that it actually minimizes the diameter of the artery.
  • This condition is widely known as atherosclerosis.
  • Atherosclerosis can be managed by conservative medications that aim to prevent further thickening of the fatty deposits or further decreasing the artery’s diameter.
  • Another treatment option for atherosclerosis is the surgical placement of a heart stent within the affected artery.
  • Heart stent placement is done through a heart catheterization procedure called angioplasty.
  • The stents are made of tiny metal coils that may be coated with medication which can help to keep the artery open.
  • Complications of heart stent placement include:
    • Formation of blood clots from damaged blood vessels
    • High risk for bleeding from the veins used for catheterization
    • Artery damage
    • Stroke
    • Heart attack
    • Arrhythmia
    • Kidney problems

Side Effects of Heart Stent

As much as a heart stent is life saving, some patients experience side effects from the stent’s presence in the artery.

  • Foreign body reaction: In some patients, the body continues to identify the stent as a foreign body and begins to attack it.
  • Allergy to stent material: Some patients develop allergies from the metallic component of the stent.
  • Allergy to the drug: Most heart stents are coated with a medication that helps to keep the stent and the artery patent.
    Some patients develop allergies to this medication.
  • Chest discomfort: Some patients experience chest pains or discomforts after the placement of a heart stent. This discomfort is exacerbated with strenuous activity however this side effect often diminishes a few days to a week following the surgery.
  • In-stent restenosis: One of the most feared side effects of heart stent placement is the risk of restenosis or re-clogging of the artery that occurs inside the stent. This requires immediate medical intervention.