A stent is an expandable metal mesh tube used in the angioplasty procedure. The stent is placed at the site of the blockage to keep the artery open. Stents or balloons can also be used as the initial opening device of the artery. The stent remains in the artery and pushes against the walls to keep it open. In 10 to 15 percent of stent procedures need to be repeated to restore the opening.
In the next 24 hours, nearly 10,000 heart procedures will be performed in hospitals across the U.S. That's 365 days a year, year after year. Procedures and drugs taking aim at heart disease appear to be getting better and better-yet the cardiovascular healthcare system grows bigger, generating more procedures, more expensive…