Carotid angioplasty and stenting

Carotid angioplasty (kuh-ROT-id AN-jee-o-plas-tee) is a procedure that opens clogged arteries to prevent or treat stroke. The carotid arteries are located on each side of your neck and are the main arteries supplying blood to your brain. The procedure involves temporarily inserting and inflating a tiny balloon where your carotid artery is clogged to widen the artery.

Carotid angioplasty is often combined with the placement of a small metal coil called a stent in the clogged artery. The stent helps prop the artery open and decreases the chance of it narrowing again. Carotid angioplasty and stenting may be used when traditional carotid surgery isn't feasible or is too risky.


Why it's done Risks How you prepare What you can expect Results

Carotid angioplasty and stenting may be an appropriate stroke treatment or stroke prevention option if:

  • You have a carotid artery with a 70 percent blockage or more, especially if you've had a stroke or stroke symptoms, and you aren't in good enough health to undergo surgery — for example, if you have severe heart or lung disease or had radiation for neck tumors
  • You've already had a carotid endarterectomy and are experiencing new narrowing after surgery (restenosis)
  • The location of the narrowing (stenosis) is difficult to access with endarterectomy

In some cases, traditional carotid surgery (carotid endarterectomy) may be advised to remove the buildup of plaques (fatty material) that is narrowing the artery. In other cases, angioplasty and stenting may be a better option.

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