Placing a stent in a key artery in the neck is safer than ever in patients ineligible for the standard surgical treatment of carotid artery disease, according to a new study published online today in the Journal of Vascular Surgery.
A team of researchers led by Dr. Jon Matsumura, head of the vascular surgery division at University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, found the clinical trial PROTECT (Carotid Artery Stenting with Distal Embolic Protection with Improved System) had the lowest rate of complications ever in patients considered high risk for carotid endarterectomy (CEA)-the gold standard for opening a blocked carotid artery. Carotid artery stenosis, or the narrowing of blood vessels in the neck, is one of the leading causes of strokes in the United States.
"Recent improvements in devices designed specifically for carotid artery stenting have resulted in safer procedures and better clinical outcomes," says Matsumura. "These technological advances, combined with a stronger understanding of patient risk factors, have also improved our ability to select which patients are best suited for the less invasive procedure."
The PROTECT study was a prospective, multi-center clinical trial designed to examine the safety of Emboshield Pro-an embolic protection device used in combination with stenting to help enlarge the blocked artery and capture any plaque that could dislodge during the process. The device is manufactured by Abbott Vascular, which also funded the research. Findings were peer-reviewed before publication.