LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -Stents are devices which are implanted during an angioplasty to treat coronary artery disease. These small tubes are used to prop open clogged arteries. Over the past 30 years or so, advancements to these devices have made them an even better tool in the treatment of heart disease.

Each year, about one million people in the U.S. are treated for blocked arteries in the heart that prevent blood from flowing the way it should, but there's one device that can treat this's called a stent.

"Stents are a metal tubes that we insert inside a coronary arteries we do that to keep the arteries open," said Dr. Senthil Nachimutu, a cardiologist at Comanche County Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Nachimutu says there are two types of stents a patient can get, bare metal and a drug-coated stent.

"If a patient cannot take a blood thinner for a long period of time, or if they have a surgery coming up soon within a few weeks of the procedure, we like to insert a bare metal stent," Dr. Nachimutu explained.

Dr. Nachimutu says a drug-coated stent is ideal because it won't leave much scar tissue. Either way, he says the procedure is quick and painless.

"They come for two reasons: they come with a heart attack where the plaque ruptures, and blood clot forms and the artery is badly open and you need to keep the artery open to increase circulation to the heart some way or the other," Dr. Nachimutu said.

If you have a stent implanted, that doesn't mean you're in the clear. Dr. Nachimutu warns that living an unhealthy lifestyle can put you at risk for developing blockages in other areas.

"They need to continue medications and a healthy lifestyle. The stent temporarily fixes the problem, but in the long term they need to follow this to make sure they don't get any disease or blockage in the rest of the vessels," Dr. Nachimutu said.

Living a heart healthy lifestyle and lowering your risk factors can prevent those blockages from happening in the first place.

In other health news, Comanche County Memorial Hospital will host a weight loss options luncheon on Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 11:30 a.m. in the Oakwood Conference Center. The cost is $5 and includes a healthy lunch. The guest speaker will be bariatric surgeon Dr. Michael Sawyer. He will be discussing innovative weight loss options. For more information and to make a reservation, call 580-585-5406.

Mark your calendar for the healthy heart screenings, which will be held on Feb. 29 and March 1 from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the Oakwood Conference Center. The screening is $20 and includes A1C, good, bad and total cholesterol, triglycerides and heart risk assessment. To make an appointment call 580-585-5406.

The Good Hearted Woman luncheon will be held on Monday, Feb. 29, at 11:30 a.m. in the Maple Conference Room. The cost is $5 and cardiologist Dr. Ronald Woodson will be speaking about women and heart disease. To make a reservation, call 580-585-5406.

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