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Carotid angioplasty and stenting 


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Carotid angioplasty and stenting is a combined technique done to treat carotid artery disease. It is a minimally invasive technique that might be done by carotid angiography. We shall discuss the details here:


Why is carotid angioplasty and stenting done?

This medical procedure is performed under the following circumstances: 

  • To widen the carotid artery when more than 70% blockage has been found due to plaque deposits
  • To reduce risk of congestive heart failure, TIA, etc.
  • May be performed in patients who cannot undergo endarterectomy


How is carotid angioplasty and stenting done?

During carotid angioplasty, your doctor will puncture the blood vessel of the groin area (femoral) or the arm (brachial) to thread the catheter to the carotid artery. 

Following that embolic protection device (a wired filter) is placed outside the artery to capture and remove debris that gets dislodged during the angioplasty.

After that an angioplasty balloon is inserted in the constricted artery. The plaque deposits are pushed against the walls of the artery when the balloon is inflated.

Thereafter, a small stent (a metal tube) is placed inside the artery to keep it widened. This step is known as stenting.

The entire procedure would be performed under x ray with a contrast material.


How to prepare for it?

Your doctor might change or ask you to stop taking certain medicines for some time. Check with your doctor if you can have the medicines on the day of operation. 

You may be advised to take aspirin for 3 to 5 days before the procedure.

The guidelines regarding foods and drinks differ from one individual to other. So make sure you follow your doctor’s advice precisely.


What happens during the procedure?

General anaesthesia is not needed for angioplasty and you will be conscious during the procedure.

The area where the catheter is inserted will be anaesthetized or numbed; so you won’t be experiencing pain.

You may be given heparin to cut down risk of blood clotting

As the contrast material is injected through the catheter, you can sense warmth in your body and can feel it travelling inside the artery.

Digital photographs are taken with the X ray to locate the site of blockage. 

Lie down still while your doctor operates on you


How long does the procedure last?

The operation should not take more than 2 hours. However, you need to wait for few hours more to allow your doctor conduct other medical procedures.


What to expect after the procedure?

The catheter would be taken out after sometime and the puncture would be closed with a vascular sheath to prevent flow of blood.

Your doctor would advise you to lie down flat on the operation bed without folding legs or bending the body to avoid bleeding. You may be given some medicines to ease the discomfort.

Overnight stay in hospital would be recommended as your doctor will evaluate the response of your body post operation and might conduct carotid ultrasound, angiogram and some neurological tests to analyse the outcome of the angioplasty and stenting.

Aspirin might be continued for 4-5 weeks. Take rest and avoid heavy activities and jerky movements especially that would exert pressure on your neck.

Are there any risks of the procedure? 

  • Allergy to the dye
  • Blood clotting or bleeding at the puncture site
  • Sudden stroke during operation


How effective is carotid angioplasty and stenting?

The treatment is quite a success in restoring the health of carotid arteries and reducing risk of stroke due to the narrowing.

However, it’s effectiveness also depend how well you have modified your lifestyle, food and drinking habits so that the need of future operation is completely eliminated.

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: March 04, 2014