Senator Bernie Sanders Had 2 Heart Stents Inserted After Experiencing Chest Discomfort

April 1, 2020

Senator Bernie Sanders inserted two stents to treat a blocked artery after experiencing chest pain, according to the New York Times.

Jeff Weaver, an advisor to Senator Sanders, said in a statement Wednesday morning, “During last night’s campaign event, Senator Sanders experienced some chest discomfort. After medical evaluation and testing, it was discovered that one of his arteries was clogged and two stents were successfully inserted.” The New York Times reported.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), a stent is a small mesh tube made of wire. They are used to open an artery and remain there permanently to keep the artery open.

Stents are used to treat clogged coronary arteries, which enter the heart muscle. These arteries can become blocked by a buildup of plaque or fatty deposits that can reduce the flow of blood to the heart. Chest pain may be the result of a blocked coronary artery.

Generally, stents are the result of a process doctors call percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), also known as angioplasty. These are used to treat blocked or narrowed arteries, according to the AHA. during PCI, the doctor inserts a balloon-tipped catheter (which is a tube) into the artery. The catheter is moved to the blocked portion of the artery and inflated to compress the plaque buildup and open the narrowed area of the artery.

Once the artery has been reopened, the catheter is removed, but a stent, placed over the balloon-tipped catheter, is locked in place and left behind to keep the artery open and improve the amount of blood reaching the heart, per AHA. It also helps reduce the patient’s chest pain. According to the AHA, patients who undergo angioplasty and stents recover from these procedures much faster than those who undergo coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG), which can also restore blood flow to blocked arteries.

After PCI, patients are advised to take antiplatelet agents, such as aspirin, which prevent platelets from clumping together and forming a clot in the stent, further blocking the artery. According to the AHA, aspirin is usually taken indefinitely, but other medications are taken as prescribed by your doctor.

It should be noted, however, that stents may not be a permanent solution to clogged arteries. While stents help prevent the artery from re-narrowing, or preventing a previously open artery from re-narrowing, it’s still possible for the artery to re-close.

As for how Senator Sanders is feeling right now, one of his campaign aides told the New York Times that Senator Sanders “feels better than ever because that’s what people feel after receiving a brace, more blood flow.”