What is carotid stenting?
This procedure (described generally under angioplasty and stenting) is used to open narrowed or blocked carotid arteries (the large arteries on either side of the neck that carry blood to the head and brain).
When is carotid stenting indicated?
The interventional radiologist may first perform one of the following tests to determine the status of all blood vessels supplying blood flow to the brain:
- carotid duplex ultrasound
- transcranial Doppler ultrasound (uses sound waves)
- CT (computed tomography) scan
- magnetic resonance angiograph (uses radio waves and magnetic fields)
If it is determined that the patient is at high risk for a first or subsequent stroke, you and your physician will likely discuss the risks and benefits of conventional treatment (an invasive surgical procedure called a carotid endarterectomy) and angioplasty and stenting.
Studies have shown that the interventional radiological procedure of angioplasty and stenting not only prevents stroke but also improves brain function in patients who were experiencing neurocognitive deficits as a result of decreased blood flow through the carotid arteries to the brain. Magnetic resonance imaging following the carotid stenting procedure has shown increased blood flow to the brain, and patients have reported an improved ability to see colors, think and remember.