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British Heart Foundation
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How long can a stent last?

I’m new here and it is my dad who had a heart attack at 52 nearly 17 years ago now and had angioplasty. My concern is do stents last forever? He Feels very tired lately and has to take a day to recover after a day out or playing golf. Up until two years ago he was still working so we used to think he was just tired due to work and he would feel the benefit of retirement. He struggles with his doctors to get appointments for check ups when his medication is up for review and blood tests, they just don’t see the urgency of making sure he gets the medication he needs continuously so he doesn’t miss a day. Should my dad be assessed more thoroughly after all this time to see if the stent is still doing it’s job? Is there anyone out there with a similar situation that can help us understand the best cause of action?

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This is a good question, and whilst i cannot answer it i would be interested to hear others thoughts. I recently had stent fitted and have often wondered what the long-term monitoring of my situation will be

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Hi I am 2 years + with stents and did ask the question but answers vary but it is easy now for them to be replaced if needed, when I was awaiting my second op for additional stents I was with a guy who had gone in for a broken stent and was in and out with in 30 mins and talking to me saying all was good with him, I was very surprised on how fast and how he felt, it would seem the main concern is not the stents failing but a build up or furring of the old stent that could cause the problem of poor artery supply, I would suggest another angiogram to check that area out. as I would after the period of years you have quoted, best of luck.

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Hi Npaine, I have also asked these questions after having a HA and 5 stents fitted last year at a relatively young 42 ( smoked 18-30, but I have always been very active, running football and going to the gym - but strong hereditary factors too). You may want to look at my profile and see the many great replies I received. I think the answer sadly is that there is not enough data to give a definitive answer on an average of stent life; in theory my cardiologist stated they can last a lifetime - he said that in disagreement with what a junior cardiologist had told me (“ten to fifteen years... but then again maybe five”!) but my take is there are so many variables for an individual that will determine stent life. If you accept that then providing a reliable statistic for all must be quite difficult.

Lifestyle of course is the controllable factor; the right type of exercise and eating, plus stress management - that’s my focus.

Sorry to hear that your father is not getting access - I went private for an appointment with my cardiologist, if your father can afford a couple of hundred pounds ( seems to be the average) then I would recommend he does that ; but have his questions written down too to get full value- easy to forget when actually having the appointment. I also paid extra and had a treadmill exercise test with ecg and then an ultrasound to establish general fitness and overall heart health - this was several hundred pounds. I will probably do this yearly. The big issue technology wise with regards to stents is that they are hard to monitor - without an invasive angiogram ; there are no reliable non-invasive options currently. CTCA scanning is improving though, but they apparently still can provide false results ; unless anyone has heard of any recent developments?.

I hope your dad can get some attention shortly, but if it puts his mind at rest and you can afford it - go private for an appointment.

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Thank you for your reply it has helped to hear of others going through this procedure personally and how you deal with it. I will take what you have said and try to help my dad get more help. He does keep fit through walking daily a couple of miles a day and he eats generally healthy, so ideally he could do with the ecg and treadmill tests again. Thanks again.

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Time moves on as do es advances in medicine etc. They can now do stents within stents if a previous one has become partially blocked or furred up. As others have said he needs to have further investigations.

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Good point shopman, i forgot to mention they can be reopened too apparently.

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I know someone who a few years ago passed twenty years. The technology of stents is continually evolving so it is not really possible to compare like with like. Another factor is that many who have stents are getting on in years so analysis and averages could be relatively meaningless. Besides re-stenting bypasses are sometimes subsequently performed. The best thing you can do is to follow a healthy lifestyle|

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This is interesting, I have a dissolving stent and have been told that the stent encourages the walls of the artery to reshape and then dissolves after a few months. I was quite shocked when I heard this. But I am fine so far .

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I think the approach to take with the GP is that this isn't to do with a check-up regarding an old condition that was treated 17 years ago, but a check up regarding a new condition that hasn't been addressed yet. The regrettable thing is that if his past treatment served him well for the best part of 17 years then the current problems are possibly the result of other parts of the system getting blocked. Maybe he needs a new GP if the current one isn't taking his complaint seriously, or maybe he hasn't wanted to bring it up too firmly with his GP because some older men can be a bit funny about seeing GPs generally.

At least he's got you looking out for him, so nag him to get down there and get it sorted.

My experience is that I had a bypass 30 years ago, and then stents 6 years ago, and another a few months ago, plus an ICD. I feel a bit like the legendary Forth Bridge - once they've finished sorting a new problem it's time to sort out the old ones again!

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Yes you are right he gets a bit touchy about seeing the GP and when he gets knocked back by the receptionist he gives up. Really like you say he needs to go with how he’s feeling now as it could be another part failing him. I will try to encourage him to get an appointment again. Thanks for your feedback, This forum has been a great help knowing there are people out there willing to share their experiences.

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Hi Npaine. Have 11 stents. First 4 done 15 years ago. Don't think the age of the stents is the issue here. They can re-stent. I even have stents in stents. I definitely think your Dad should go see a Cardiologist and have some tests including an exercise test. (1) He is now 17 years older. I am 15 years older. Life catches up with us and we do get more tired as time goes by. But (2), there is a good chance he may have some calcification in the stented area, (entrance or exit from stent) or even in the stent depending upon the type of stent originally used (drug eluding or not). They simply need to do what I call a "Dynorod procedure" which is when they do an Angiogram and blow through the area. If it needs more stents they will do them there and then or they may just need to balloon the existing stent and blow it up a bit. I have had this done twice in the last 15 years and in both cases went to see them because of a decrease in my overall fitness and performance of which tiredness was a recognizable factor.

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