A stent is a very small mesh that is inserted into an artery to improve the flow of blood. As we get older we often have hardening of the arteries, or whatever problem that slows our blood circulation. This stent, fairly new in the medical world, can make a huge difference in our health…for a time.
The average patient who has a stent is usually an older person, probably over 60 but possibly a few years younger. This procedure should be done by a vascular surgeon. The usual reaction after having a stent implanted is, “Great! Now my problem is ‘fixed’!” All of us are thankful when a medical problem is resolved. What we don’t know, and often are not told, is that this ‘repair’ is temporary. Within a time period, possibly three years or less, these stents can get BLOCKED just as the artery was before the stent was placed. This blockage can cause many problems as the blood is unable to flow through, thus bringing on a very serious situation.
The surgeon who inserted the stents MUST follow up on these patients. They know that the blocked stents can cause amputations; most patients are unaware of this until it is too late. Life gets busy and the patients believe all is well; they don’t know the terrible results that can suddenly change their lives forever.
When I had stents placed in my femoral arteries in 2009, I went back for a one month check-up. I was not advised concerning further check-ups. Four years later, I felt a slight pain in my right thigh, something very unusual for me. Even as I near 83, I never have a pain anywhere. The only thing that had happened concerning that femur was when I had a stent implanted.
My first thought was, “I should have that checked to see if that pain is connected to the stent.” I made an appointment and had my femoral stents checked. Sadly, I learned that BOTH WERE BLOCKED, though I didn’t know how much. I made an appointment with the vascular surgeon who had implanted the left stent (entered through the right groin). Located on the East coast of Central Florida, HE would know more about the veins and arteries than one in another field of medicine. I live in S.E. Alabama so I had to travel.
Using his more sophisticated equipment, my stents were again tested and found to be blocked. He replaced the right femoral stent and it went well. I didn’t ask the extent of blockage but on the left femur, he told me that the stent that he had implanted was 100% blocked. I asked what would have happened if I had not come to his office to have the stent checked. He told me that I would have lost my leg. How sad is that!
I have a friend who had stents since 1953. Apparently she was not aware that stents can get blocked. A few months ago, she had BOTH feet amputated! This terrible result could have been avoided if her doctor had followed up on her progress after he placed the stents. My heart cries for her; I cannot even imagine her emotional pain. Had I not reacted as I did to that slight unusual pain in my right thigh, the same could have happened to me! Who knows how many others have paid a huge price for being unaware that stents can become blocked. It is the doctors’ responsibility to inform these patients! If YOU have stents, have them tested to learn if these are blocked!! Get it done!
About Lura Zerick
82-year-old Lura Zerick is the mother of 5, grandmother of 12 and great-grandmother of seven. She was born and raised in the Florida Panhandle and now lives on six acres of woods in S.E. Alabama, near Geneva.
She has been writing since 1965. Her articles are published in regional and national magazines. She has authored five books: Who Do You Think You Are? (1989), The Golden Olden Days, (2002) River Villa (2007) The House of Esther (2011) Getting Older and Enjoying It! (2004) (The last book was one of three chosen nationally to be featured in an article written by Donna Childress and published by the National Council on Aging in the Fall/Winter issue of their publication, INNOVATIONS)
Lura has composed lyrics and music of 70 gospel songs and recorded 15 songs on 2 CDs.. She sang show tunes and popular songs in nightclubs, a cruise ship, with several TV guest spots.
She wrote and produced a weekly, then daily, radio program, “Encouragement for Today’s Woman”; edited and published “Living with Hope”, a quarterly newsletter of the writings of women across America; co-hosted a 2-hour weekly radio program, “The Saturday Morning Show”; participated in and co-produced a Sunday afternoon gospel music radio program.
Lura was executive editor of a regional magazine, Grassroots South; Editor’s Assistant for an international publication, “Journal of Marital & Family Therapy”; wrote a newspaper column, “Encouragement for Today “ as well as features and news articles for various newspapers. Her articles have been published in Alabama Living, Spirit Led Woman, Just Between Us, Writer’s Digest, Mature Living, Christian Single, Army Flier, Army Times, Looking Back and other publications.
Lura is currently working on three books: Bible Quest, Feeding Our Spiritual Selves and Another Woman; Another Well, the story of her life.