In carotid stenting, a catheter is threaded through the arteries to the narrowed carotid artery in the neck. A stent is inserted into the vessel to serve as a scaffold that helps prevent the artery from narrowing again.
How does it work?
During the procedure:
- A sheath is placed into the artery. A catheter with a balloon tip is then threaded through the tube to the narrowing in the carotid artery under X-ray guidance.
- Contrast material is injected into the carotid artery through the catheter. The contrast material may cause a temporary warm feeling. Contrast material provides a detailed view of the narrowed artery and blood flow to the brain.
- A filter is placed in the artery. The filter, called an embolic protection device, is inserted beyond the narrowing to catch any debris that may break off from the narrowed area of artery during the procedure.
- The balloon tip is threaded into the narrowed area and inflated to push the plaque to the side and widen the vessel.
- A stent is placed in the newly opened vessel. The expanded stent provides support that helps prevent the artery from narrowing again.
- The filter, sheath, catheter and balloon are removed. Pressure is applied to the small catheter insertion site to prevent bleeding.
Am I a good candidate for treatment?
Carotid stenting may be appropriate for patients who:
- Have a carotid artery with a blockage of 70% or more, especially those who have had a stroke or stroke-like symptoms
- Have already had a carotid endarterectomy and are experiencing new narrowing after surgery
- Have narrowing or stenosis in a difficult to access area of the artery
What can I expect after treatment?
For most patients, stenting increases blood flow through the previously blocked artery and reduces the risk of stroke.