Study: Stents As Good As Carotid Surgery

MAYWOOD, Ill., May 26 (UPI) — U.S. and Canadian scientists say they’ve found the use of less invasive stents to open clogged carotid arteries works as well as traditional surgery.

Loyola University Medical Center researchers said they were among investigators at several U.S. and Canadian hospitals participating in one of the largest randomized stroke-prevention studies ever conducted.

The scientists, led at Loyola by Drs. Jose Biller and Fred Leya, said they found the safety and efficacy of both procedures are roughly equal.

“The data obtained at Loyola and other participating centers now will better inform doctors and patients about the relative benefits and risks of endarterectomy and stenting,” Biller said.

Carotid arteries on each side of the neck supply blood to the brain, the researchers explained. As a person ages, plaque can accumulate, causing the artery to stiffen and narrow, producing a stroke if the artery becomes completely blocked. Or, bits of plaque can break off and travel to the brain and cause a mini stroke called a transient ischemic attack.

During an endartectomy, a surgeon physically removes the inner lining of the clogged artery. In the newer stenting procedure, a surgeon uses a catheter to deploy a stent — a mesh tube — that expands inside the artery to increase blood flow.

The nine-year study that involved 2,502 participants who were randomly assigned to receive an endarterectomy or a stenting is reported in the early online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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