Coated Stent (Medicated Stent)
A coated stent (aka medicated stent) is a tiny cage coated with a drug to prop open an artery and prevent it from closing again. A stent is a minute metal mesh tube inserted into a coronary artery usually just after an angioplasty has been done to open the vessel. The stent slowly releases the drug with which it is coated. The drug may, for example, be sirolimus. Coated stents reduce the risk of artery re-narrowing, or restenosis, after angioplasty which occurs about a third of the time when bare metal stents are used. However, a coated stent is appreciably more costly than an uncoated one ($3,200 versus $1,000, in 2003). A little known and little communicated fact is that stints have never been approved by the FDA and are considered experimental.