Results using a self-expanding stent alone in the treatment of severe symptomatic carotid bifurcation stenosis

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  • 1 Division of Neuroradiology, Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine;
  • 3 Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ontario, Canada; and
  • 2 Department of Radiology, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania
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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.

Abbreviations used in this paper: CA = carotid artery; CCA = common CA; CI = confidence interval; ICA = internal CA; NASCET = North American Symptomatic Carotid Endarterectomy Trial; OR = odds ratio; PSV = peak systolic velocity; SES = self-expanding stent.

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Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to: Miguel Bussière, M.D., C7-126, University Hospital, 339 Windermere Road, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5A5. email: miguel.bussiere@lhsc.on.ca.
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