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Broken or Fractured Stent

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I had a heart attack due to a broken stent. A new stent has been placed but I don't have the strength I once had. What recourse do I have?

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Current Postings on This Page (19):

• RudiP - We don't give medical advice and without seeing the angiogram, it's not possible to know exactly the situation. When a stent gets reblocked by tissue growth, which sometimes happens, another stent can be inserted insode of the old one. Don't know that this is possible with a fractured stent (yours is pretty old though, so it's possible the arterial lining has grown over the struts, keeping it stable).
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, August 2, 2019

• I had a stent in my LAD artery in 2001. In 2012, the stent broke in half and they did a bypass. A month ago I went in for an angio as I had chest pains again. The prognosis was that the bypass had collapsed and the blood was flowing through the broken stent again. My cardiologist said we should not worry about this. But I am concerned; it was enough of a worry to do a bypass 7 years ago, yet now it's fine? Should I go for a second opinion? Cant the stent not rupture the artery; it literally folds in half every time my heart beats. Discomfort comes and goes.Your advice is much appreciated.
RudiP, South Africa, July 23, 2019

• Rock in Ohio - We don't see how it is possible to have 27 stents in a single artery. Have you confirmed this with your doctor?
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, June 26, 2014

• Hi, I have a total of 33 stents.6 in the lad , and 27 in the RCA . I know for fact by reading the post op reports that it mentions fractured stent 3 times . I've had 20 heart Caths, and on the last one, there was a fractured stent, but he ended the catheterization because of a reaction to all the contrast. The RCA is completely blocked now, but due to 2 collaterals that have grown he decided to leave it like that. Is there a possibility of any fragments moving? I know this sounds a little excess, but I can prove all of it.
Rock, Beloit, Ohio, USA, June 22, 2014

• I had an angioplasty on 9/4/2013, during this procedure they placed three stents. Then realized that they had missed a blockage and tried to guidewire with balloon and the balloon broke the stent traveled down the main artery to the left leg. The doctor said that they will do nothing about the broken stent. I would like to know what would happen if this stent falls farther down my leg. I have tingling in my foot, swelling in left leg and pain. I went to another doctor and he told me that he doesn't know where the stent went, but is not worried about it. I am worried about this because of the pain and tingling and swelling in the foot. Does anyone know what this could cause if it stayed in my leg?
Holly Henricks, Clinton, Iowa, USA, October 11, 2013

• Tom in Los Angeles -- Are you saying you have been told you have a fractured stent? Can you tell us what type stent (brand name) and any other info like length, diameter, etc. and what artery it's in. Depending on how it's fractured, and that's something that might be seen on an angiogram, or IVUS or OCT imaging, it may be best to leave it, or place another stent inside it. Certain types of fractures may be more susceptible to restenosis (regrowth of tissue) or thrombosis (blood clot) -- what did your cardiologist tell you about this?
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, July 19, 2013

• Hi, would be happy to know your opinion regarding the fractured stent, meaning, the debris that remains in the coronary artery, how likely that this would cause clogs and or other heart malfunctions, and what should I ask the cardiologist to do? I know they're trying to avoid bypass surgery as much as possible, I just don't know why. Thank you!
Tom, Los Angeles, California, USA, July 19, 2013

• Marika in South Africa -- Our deepest sympathies to your and your family. There was clearly a device malfunction. Whether or not it was a defect in the product itself, or the result of something thatr occurred as a result of a difficult anatomy, or a procedural error is impossible to say long-distance. In the U.S., device issues can be reported to the Food & Drug Administration, a division of the U.S. government. Don't know the counterpart in South Africa. We can say that this is a rare event -- less than two out of a thousand angioplasties end up with emergency surgery (that's <0.2%).
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, March 31, 2012

• My husband had an angiogram [angioplasty] & the stent malfunctioned. While being inflated the balloon seemed to have a hole in it & therefore did not fully deploy. When the Dr pulled it out to insert another, the balloon & stent came off the wire blocking his artery. He had a heart attack & had to have an emergency bypass. He passed away 3 days after that from infection & multiple organ failure. Has anyone ever heard of something like this happening before? Any advice as to what I should do or recourse I could have. Any advice would be most appreciated. I'm just not sure what to do...Taking the decision to have an angiogram [angioplasty] should not be taken lightly.
Marika, South Africa, March 26, 2012

• Cathy in Wisconsin -- When you say "stent wire", do you mean the stent itself? Or the guide wire over which the balloon/stent is passed? One possibility might be to do a Cardiac CT Angiogram (CCTA) which is non-invasive and might be able to show more about the stent, wire, where it is, etc. There are retrieval devices made that can loop around things like wires to retrieve them. But your husband's case is complicated and not a common occurrence.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, February 25, 2012

• My husband had a stent wire broken off in his heart artery during stenting. It happened January 17, 2012 we went to the Dr. yesterday and they looked at his health. He is 55 and very healthy, he is released from rehab. They will see him again in 6 weeks. The Dr. seems to think June would be the perfect window to go in there and have a look. Do you have a opinion on this. This Dr. has never seen this before but he has heard of it.
Cathy, Wisconsin, USA, February 22, 2012

• Chuck K in Florida -- It's impossible to say why without having a detailed look at the angiogram, how long the stent was, in what part of what artery, was it near a severe bend? We have not seen fractures of this sort widely reported for the Taxus, but did your father's interventional cardiologist give you any more details. We assume this was reported to the FDA adverse events database. Patients can report directly.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, November 29, 2011

• My father had Taxus stent implanted in may of 2010 less than 3 months later after suffering a heart attack it was discovered to have been bent in half. How and why?
Chuck K, Port Charlotte, Florida, USA, November 18, 2011

• Ginger -- the CT Angiogram should have shown if the stent was in place and the artery open. (Alternatively, a standard invasive angiogram done on the catheterization lab could be done.) A fractured stent might cause some obstruction to the blood flow, but after 6 years, it should have been incorporated into the arterial lining (by the way, CYPHER stents are for the coronary arteries and are not used to treat carotid arteries -- there are specific stents that have been approved for this use over the past few years -- are you sure this was a CYPHER stent??) -- there may be other explanations for the numbness.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, March 10, 2010

• Hi this is very frightening. I had a cypher stent put in my carotid artery in 2004. What are the symptoms of a fractured stent?..I have been experiencing numbness for the past two weeks in my neck, had a sonogram and a C-scan and they did not find anything unusual. But if anyone could please tell me what were their symptoms I would feel a lot better. Thank you for sharing your experiences. If it were not for these posts a lot of people are left with what the doctors never tell you and won't. Thanks for reading this.
Ginger, Alexandria, Virginia, USA, March 4, 2010

• David S. -- as we stated a couple years ago (below) stent fracture has been considered a relatively rare phenomenon -- occurring in approximately 1-2% of drug-eluting stents (DES). However, a recent paper, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, examined stents in an autopsy registry of DES and found a much higher rate of 29%! The study, titled "Incidence and Predictors of Drug-Eluting Stent Fracture in Human Coronary Artery" by Dr. Gaku Nakazawa et al, challenges the conventional understanding of this failure and also revealed some predictors of stent fracture. They were: (1) Cypher stents, which had a higher rate of fracture; (2) overlapping stents, sometimes used when one stent is not long enough to cover the diseased area; and (3) long stents. The fractures were graded from I to V in severity. It was only the highest grade V where the result was dangerous -- grade V is where the stent broke and a gap occurred -- approximately 5% of the stents showed grade V fractures. We'd also point out that the Cypher stent is a first generation drug-eluting stent -- newer DES are made with different and supposedly better metals -- it will certainly be worthwhile to inspect for fractures in these newer models, something that may be possible with a new imaging technology called OCT, which theoretically could find these fractures before they cause problems.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, January 21, 2010

• I recently had a 4 way bypass due to ''3'' fractured stents. I asked my surgeon and cardiologist about it and they never have seen this. I was told by my surgeon if I did not have someone with me that day I would have died. These 3 stents had just been put in within the last 3 years. My question now is how many people ''will'' die from failure of these stents. It's too bad the general public has to be led into something that will fail in such a short period of time.
David S., 1 PERSON WHO LIVED THROUGH IT, Maine, USA, December 2, 2009

• Eleanor -- we can't advise you as to your legal recourse. Stent fracture is a relatively rare but known phenomenon. This certainly should be reported to the manufacturer of the fractured stent, who is then supposed to report it to the FDA. You can also report it directly to the FDA, but be forewarned, the forms are a bit daunting (we testified about this to the FDA in December). Discuss with your cardiologist the symptoms you are having. Sometimes these may the result of medications, possibly the heart attack from December. Let the Forum know any updates.
Angioplasty.Org Staff, Angioplasty.Org, February 9, 2007

• I had an angioplasty Jan 2, 2007 to place a stent in my artery. When the Dr. got in there he found that the stent that had been placed in 2004 had BROKEN. He worked for 3 hours to reshape the position of the broken stent. Each time it broke the balloon of the new stent. He finally managed to accomplish the placement of the new stent. He found that the drug eluting stent had broken, that I had scar tissue beginning to clog the artery. In other words the stent did not work properly. Now I'd like to know if I have any legal recourse. I have been like an invalid for the past year. Short of breath, couldn't walk far, chest pains, etc. Since the new stent was placed I don't have the strength and vitality I once had. I was told that I had a heart attack in December. I was told it was due to the faulty stent they later found.
Eleanor K., California, USA, January 25, 2007

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