Stent: A tube designed to be inserted into a vessel or passageway to keep it open. Stents are inserted into narrowed coronary arteries to help keep them open after balloon angioplasty. The stent then allows the normal flow of blood and oxygen to the heart. Stents placed in narrowed carotid arteries (the vessels in the front of the neck that supply blood to the brain) appear useful in treating patients at elevated risk for stroke. Stents are also used in other structures such as the esophagus to treat a constriction, the ureters to maintain the drainage of urine from the kidneys, and the bile duct to keep it open.
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Last Editorial Review: 5/13/2016