SURGERY OR STENT?
PEOPLE WHO HAVE BLOCKAGES IN THEIR CAROTIDS ARTERIES WILL NOW BE ABLE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN TWO TREATMENTS, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Blockage of the carotid artery, the major artery in the neck, causes stroke and death. Detecting and treating the blockages reduces that risk, with two techniques employed: surgery known as carotid endarterectomy, or placement of a stent to keep the vessel open. Rick Lange, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins and member of an FDA panel assessing the techniques, says stents are now a possibility for more patients.
LANGE: Blockages in the carotid artery have previously been treated with carotid endarterectomy or carotid surgery, and in the high risk patients stenting was available. The FDA reviewed recent evidence suggesting that carotid stenting should be available to standard risk patients as well. In a large trial of over 2500 patients randomized to either of the two procedures the overall risk and benefit was the same, regardless of whether stenting was used or carotid endarterectomy. Since this procedure became available in 2004 the risk associated with stenting has gone down substantially. :33
At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.