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Prince Philip is fitted with a coronary stent implant
Diagrams showing how a coronary stent is used to open up a partially blocked artery.
Thursday 5th January 2012
At the end of 2011, the Duke of Edinburgh was implanted with a coronary stent as treatment for a blocked coronary artery caused by the build up of fatty deposits, a condition known as atherosclerosis. Coronary stents are tiny metal coils that can be placed into the artery as part of a surgical angioplasty procedure. During angioplasty a small balloon is position in the partially blocked artery and then inflated pushing the walls of the artery back. The balloon is then deflated and removed leaving the stent in place which keeps the artery open allowing blood flow to the heart. A similar stent was fitted to the former USA president Bill Clinton in 2010.
Sophisticated medical engineering and materials science is required to develop these implants and to ensure that they function correctly. The consequences of any failure of such an implant could be fatal.
Find out more about coronary stents on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronary_stent