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Miguel Bussière, David M. Pelz, Paul Kalapos, Donald Lee, Irene Gulka, Andrew Leung and Stephen P. Lownie

Object

Conventional endovascular therapy for carotid stenosis involves placement of an embolic protection device followed by stent insertion and angioplasty. A simpler approach may be placement of a stent alone. The authors determined how often this approach could be used to treat patients with carotid stenosis, and assessed which factors would preclude this approach.

Methods

Over a period of 6 years, 97 patients with symptomatic carotid stenosis were treated with the intention of using a “stent-only” approach. Arteries in 77 patients (79%) were treated with stents alone, 13 required preinsertion balloon dilation, 6 postinsertion dilation, and 1 both pre- and postinsertion dilation.

Results

The mean stenosis according to North American Symptomatic Carotid Endarterectomy Trial criteria was reduced from 82 to 40% in the stent-only group and from 89 to 37% in the stent and balloon angioplasty group. The 30-day stroke and death rate was 7.2%. Patients were followed for a mean of 15 months. In the stent-alone group, the mean preoperative Doppler peak systolic velocity (PSV) was 409 cm/second, with an internal carotid artery/common carotid artery (ICA/CCA) ratio of 7.2. At follow-up review, the PSV decreased to 153 cm/second and the ICA/CCA ratio to 2.1. In the angioplasty group the mean preoperative PSV was 496 cm/second and the ICA/CCA ratio was 9.2, decreasing to 163 cm/second and 2, respectfully, at follow-up evaluation. Restenosis occurred in 12.8% of patients at 6 months and in 15.9% at 1 year. One stroke occurred during the follow-up period in each group. Using multivariable analysis, factors precluding the “stent-only” approach were as follows: severity of stenosis, circumferential calcification, and no history of hyperlipidemia.

Conclusions

Balloons may not be required to treat all patients with carotid stenosis. A stent alone was feasible in 79% of patients, and 79% of patients were alive and free from ipsilateral stroke or restenosis at 1 year. Restenosis rates with this approach are higher than with conventional angioplasty and stent insertion. Carotid arteries with very severe stenoses (> 90%) and circumferential calcification may be more successfully treated with angioplasty combined with stent placement.

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Miguel Bussière, Stephen P. Lownie, Donald Lee, Irene Gulka, Andrew Leung and David M. Pelz

Object

Hemodynamic instability may complicate carotid angioplasty and stenting in up to 40% of patients. The authors have previously demonstrated that primary self-expanding stent placement alone can gradually dilate severely stenosed carotid arteries without the use of balloons. The authors hypothesized that eliminating the balloon would reduce carotid baroreceptor stimulation, thereby decreasing the incidence of hemodynamic instability.

Methods

Ninety-seven high surgical risk patients with symptomatic, severely stenosed carotid arteries were treated with the intention of using a self-expanding stent alone. Seventy-seven arteries (79%) were treated with stenting alone, and 20 required angioplasty (21%).

Results

Intraprocedural bradycardia (heart rate < 60 bpm) developed in 29 patients (38%) and hypotension (systolic blood pressure < 90 mm Hg) occurred in 1 patient (1%) treated with stenting alone. Fourteen patients (70%) who underwent angioplasty and stenting had bradycardia, and hypotension developed in 4 (20%). Atropine, glycopyrrolate, or vasopressors were required in 8% of patients who received stenting alone, compared to 30% of patients who underwent angioplasty. In the first 24 hours after treatment, hypotension or bradycardia developed in 25 patients (32%) who had undergone stent placement alone, and in 15 patients (75%) after stent placement and balloon angioplasty. There was no difference in the occurrence of intra- or postprocedural hypertension (systolic blood pressure > 160 mm Hg) between patients treated with stenting alone or stenting and balloons. Factors independently associated with hemodynamic depression included baseline heart rate and balloon use.

Conclusions

Hemodynamic instability during and after carotid artery stenting was observed more frequently when balloon angioplasty was required than when stent placement was performed without concurrent balloon angioplasty.