Ask The Doctors: September 2011
You pose some important questions which are frequently encountered by patients and their cardiologists. One factor which helps determine if a stent should be placed is the patients clinical presentation. For example, if someone is experiencing an unstable coronary syndrome, such as a heart attack or unstable angina (in which chest discomfort or equivalent symptoms are present at rest, or are worsening rapidly over a period of days to weeks), then there is a definite advantage to undergoing stent placement. Patients with unstable coronary syndromes who get a stent are less likely to experience heart attacks in the future, and are more likely to live longer. However, those with stable or very slowly progressing symptoms represent a more complex situation.