CAROTID ARTERY ANGIOPLASY AND STENTING
the third leading cause of death in the United States and the leading
cause of serious, long-term disability. Approximately 70% of all
strokes occur in people age 65 and older.
carotid artery is located in the neck and is the principal artery
supplying the head, brain, and neck with blood. Plaque (or
cholesterol, fatty, and calcific deposits) can accumulate in this
artery, resulting in decreased blood flow to the brain. This
plaque can also break free into small or large pieces which will lodge
in other arteries in the brain, thereby causing stroke.
standard of care for blockage of the carotid artery is an open surgery
called carotid endarterectomy. This involves an incision in the
neck and subsequent incision in the artery to clean out the debris.
The result is removal of the blockage and improved blood flow to the
brain. By removing the debris, this decreases the risk of plaque
breaking free and causing stroke. The risk of stroke with the open
procedure is about 2-3%.
procedure of carotid artery stenting involves placing a needle and
catheter in the artery in the groin. The catheter in the groin is
then pushed up the the blocked artery in the neck. Xray is used
during the procedure to place the catheter in the correct position.
Once the catheter is positioned appropriately, the physician
places a wire across the area of blockage in the carotid artery. A
balloon-like device is then passed over the wire into the blockage and
inflated, so as to re-open to artery. Next, a stent (or metal
mesh-like device) is then placed in the artery to prevent it from
closing and from allowing pieces of plaque to enter the bloodstream.
The risk of stroke during this procedure is about 4%.
Medicare has approved this new surgical procedure if a patient meets
specific criteria. The physicians at Vascular Health Center do
perform this new, less invasive procedure, as well as, the open carotid