Life Expectancy of Stents/T or F?

Dear Doc: there are two pieces of information that I keep hearing from other heart patients regarding stents implanted as part of angioplasty. First, I've been told repeatedly that the first six months after implant are critical, and that if restinosis has not occured in the first six months, then it probably won't ever occur. The second is that stents have a life expectancy of about five years after which they will certainly have blocked or have otherwise malfunctioned. Can you please tell me if there is any basis in fact for either of these assertions? I have two stents and was pleased to have a very positive stress test result at six months after surgery, only to be told that the most I can expect from the stents is five years. I would appreciate your comments.

The period of highest risk after stenting is the first 6 months. After that, there is a much lower risk (but not zero risk) of restenosis.
Stents are not supposed to "wear out" - they're designed to last a lifetime. However, there is always some risk of restenosis. Nobody knows what the actual risk of restenosis is over a very long term (say, 5 - 10 years) since stents have only been in widespread use for a little more than 5 years. It is likely, however, that the "late" restenosis is simply related to the chronic, ongoing risk of developing more coronary artery blockages. Coronary artery disease is a chronic, progressive disease, and things like angioplasty, stents and bypass surgery do not change the underlying disease process. They merely treat the blockages that are already there.
To reduced the risk of blockage, one must pay assiduous attention to altering the risk factors for coronary artery disease.
Here's an article on stent restenosis:
Dr R

In March of 89' I had a triple bipass and that lasted until June of 2001. I had eaten right most of that time. Also in 01' I had an attack on the table, after a double bipass and now have CHF along with my diabetes. I now have 300- 500mgs of sodium a day so that I don't gain too much weight. I also take a 40mgs of lasix per day. I watch the diet and exercise, but like you say, it progresses.
Makes it rough eating in restaurants!!

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