A key question for the millions of Americans currently living with stents: How long do the devices last?
“In the majority of patients, stents will stay open forever,” says Jefferson cardiologist David L. Fischman, MD, co-director of Jefferson’s Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory. “When patients come back 5, 10, 15, 20 years later with a problem it is usually not the stent, it is the development of new blockages.”
That’s why it is critical for people with heart disease to make lifestyle changes to lower their chances for additional heart problems. So, Dr. Fischman notes, if you are a smoker, quit. If you are overweight or obese, you need to lose weight. You should exercise and eat a heart-healthy diet, control your cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
“Neither stents nor bypass surgery are cures,” Dr. Fischman says. “They take care of the immediate problem. You need to modify your risk factors to prevent coming back to the hospital.”
Learn more about heart and vascular care at Jefferson.