Can heart stents be removed for any reasons?

Doctor's Answers (1)

NO – heart stents cannot be removed for any reason except in the extremely case of a stent getting infected (about 17 or so cases reported since 1986 when the first stent was implanted and of course millions of people have had stents since then).

In which case heart surgery is necessary along with antibiotics but this is so rare that neither myself nor any of my colleagues over the years (almost 17 years) have seen an infected stent.

Stents cannot be removed because they are essentially a wire mesh scaffold for the artery to heal onto. Once the balloon inflates pushing the artery wall to a larger lumen, the stent inflates with the balloon and as the balloon deflates the stent stays up holding the artery wall.

The inner layer of the artery slowly grows over the stent (called endothelialization) and if you were to look at the artery from inside the lumen, say after a year you may not be able to identify the stent easily. This healing of course is essential as the blood thinners can then be reduced.

Of course you may wish to consider the metallic absorbable stent currently available but this stent is not suitable for all kinds of blockages as it is made of a softer metal and the strut thickness is somewhat large.

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