ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coronary stent and balloon catheter. The stent (wire mesh) is designed to be expanded by the inflation of the balloon below it. Both the stent and balloon are threaded onto a guide wire catheter that is inserted into a patient's arteries and guided to the heart. The stent is then placed in one of the heart's coronary arteries and expanded to remove and treat any narrowing (stenosis) or blockage (occlusion). The stent is a hollow tube mesh that stays in the artery and supports it after the balloon catheter has been withdrawn. The procedure is known as a coronary angioplasty, and is used to treat and prevent heart attacks and similar conditions.
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