An endovascular carotid stent is a mesh tube that is placed in a blood vessel in the neck. The stent will help to prop open the blood vessel and improve blood flow to the brain.
Plaque can build up on blood vessel walls. It can slow or block the flow of blood. The carotid artery supplies blood to the brain. Poor blood flow through the carotid can cause damage to the brain and lead to a stroke. The stent improves blood flow to the brain and lowers the risk of stroke.
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review some problems that may happen, such as:
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of problems, such as:
The doctor will review any tests that were already done. An ECG may be done if you haven’t had one recently.
Follow these steps leading up to the procedure:
You will have local anesthesia. It will numb an area in the groin.
An incision will be made in your groin. A hollow needle will be inserted into a blood vessel in your groin. The doctor will pass a long tube along the needle, into the blood vessel, then to the neck area. An x-ray machine will show the doctor where the tube is in your body. The image will appear on a monitor in the room. A dye will be passed through the tube. It will highlight blood vessels to make them easier to see. It will also show where there may be problems with blood flow.
The doctor will find where the problem area is. A balloon may be passed through the tube. It is quickly opened and closed to push open the artery. The stent will then be passed through the tube. It will be put into place to hold the artery open. The doctor will be able to see if blood flow has improved. Once work is done, the tube will be slowly taken out. A bandage will be put on the incision.
You will need to lie flat for 2 to 6 hours.
It will take 1 to 2 hours.
Anesthesia will prevent pain during the procedure. You may have some discomfort when the tube is first inserted. The area will be sore for a few days after.
You may need to stay in the hospital overnight.
The staff will check on your progress until the anesthesia wears off. During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
Strenuous activities will need to be limited for 2 weeks.
Call your doctor if any of these occur:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
American Heart Association
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Brott TG, Halperin JL, et al. 2011 ASA/ACCF/AHA/AANN/AANS/ACR/ASNR/CNS/SAIP/SCAI/SIR/SNIS/SVM/SVS guideline on the management of patients with extracranial carotid and vertebral artery disease: executive summary. Stroke. 2011 Aug;42(8):e420-63 full-text, correction can be found in Stroke 2011 Aug;42(8):e541.
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Carotid stenting. UCSF Department of Surgery website. Available at: https://surgery.ucsf.edu/conditions--procedures/carotid-stenting.aspx. Accessed July 19, 2020.
Endovascular angioplasty with stenting (CAS). Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/neurology_neurosurgery/centers_clinics/cerebrovascular/treatment/carotid_angioplasty_with_stenting.html. Accessed July 19, 2020.
Last reviewed July 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD