Endovascular carotid stent placement is a procedure to open a blocked carotid artery. There are two carotid arteries-one on each side of the neck-that supply blood to the brain. Fatty buildup (plaque) can narrow or block these arteries. When one or both of your carotid arteries are blocked, it can make it hard for blood to flow to the brain. This procedure may improve blood flow to your brain and lower your risk of having a stroke.
Before the procedure you will get medicine to prevent pain and help you relax. The doctor will put a small tube, called a catheter, into a blood vessel in your groin. He or she will move the catheter through the blood vessel to your carotid artery. The doctor will put dye into the catheter. The dye will make your carotid artery show up on X-ray pictures so the doctor can find the blocked section of the artery.
The doctor will put a catheter with a tiny balloon at the tip into your carotid artery. He or she will inflate the balloon. This will stretch the narrowed part of the artery. The doctor will take the balloon out.
Then the doctor will use the catheter to put a small, wire-mesh tube (stent) into the carotid artery. The stent will hold the artery open. The stent also may keep small pieces of plaque from breaking off and causing problems. After the stent is in place, the doctor will take out the catheter. The stent will stay in your artery.
The procedure usually takes about 1 to 2 hours. You may need to stay in the hospital for 1 or 2 days after the procedure.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.
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Current as of: September 21, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
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