Carotid Artery Stenting
Carotid artery stenting is a procedure that can be used to open narrowed carotid arteries. This procedure is much like coronary angioplasty, which is commonly used to open blocked arteries in the heart. Its use in carotid arteries is growing. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved its use in the treatment of people who have severe carotid artery narrowing and a high risk of complications from surgery. It is performed at large, specialized medical centers.
During this procedure, a tube (catheter) is inserted through a large artery—most often the femoral artery in the groin—and threaded through other arteries to the carotid artery. After the catheter reaches the narrowed portion of the carotid artery, a small balloon at the end of the tube is inflated for a short period of time.
The pressure from the inflated balloon presses the plaque against the wall of the artery to improve blood flow. A stent (a metal tube) is placed in the artery to keep the plaque from tearing open and to keep the artery from closing. New crush-resistant stents with filters to catch clots have been developed. These new stents have solved problems seen with earlier stents.
The procedure takes about 1 hour. The person usually is awake during the procedure and feels little pain. Usually, hospitalization is needed for about 24 hours after the procedure, to watch for complications.
Carotid artery stenting may be as effective as carotid endarterectomy in preventing stroke, heart attack, and other complications in some people who have narrowed carotid arteries.1, 2, 3 Talk to your doctor if you would like to know if carotid artery stenting is a good option for you.
This procedure may prevent a transient ischemic attack (TIA) and stroke in some people who have had a TIA or stroke linked with significant carotid hardening and narrowing (70% or more) and who are not good candidates for carotid endarterectomy surgery.
- Yadav JS, et al. (2004). Protected carotid-artery stenting versus endarterectomy in high-risk patients. New England Journal of Medicine, 351(15): 1493–1501.
- Mas J-L, et al. (2006). Endarterectomy versus stenting in patients with symptomatic severe carotid stenosis. New England Journal of Medicine, 355(16): 1660–1671.
- Brahmanandam S, et al. (2008). Clinical results of carotid artery stenting compared with carotid endarterectomy. Journal of Vascular Surgery, 47(2): 343–349.
|Editor||Kathleen M. Ariss, MS|
|Associate Editor||Pat Truman, MATC|
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Richard D. Zorowitz, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation|
|Last Updated||January 8, 2009|
Last Updated: January 8, 2009