Biology » Biology 105: Animal Systems » Treatment Of Heart Diseases

Stents and Pacemakers

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Treatment of Heart Diseases

We will now examine some of the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

Stents

In some cases, a small wire mesh tube is inserted into a blocked or narrowed artery to keep it open. This is called a percutaneous coronary intervention. To perform this procedure, doctors insert a needle into the femoral artery, and then thread a very thin wire through the arteries until it reaches the heart and the area of blockage. A thin catheter with a small wire coil (stent) and in inflatable balloon is then threaded over the thin wire and inserted into the coronary artery at the site of the blockage. Once in position, the balloon is gently inflated to open the artery and remove the blockage. The stent is left in the artery so that the artery does not block again, and the catheter is removed.

Stents and Pacemakers

Stent replacement in heart patients.

Optional Video: Coronary Angioplasty Surgery

Pacemaker

Pacemakers are small electrical devices that get implanted into the chest or abdomen of patients in order to help control arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms). Modern devices are quite advanced and can learn a patient’s normal heart-beat patterns and detect when the heart enters an abnormal rhythm ( e.g. skips a beat). The device will then send out a little electrical pulse to stimulate the heart to beat and restore a normal heart beat.

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