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Winter 2014

Skip Post-Stent Balloon?

Date: February 1, 2014

During carotid artery stenting, it’s long been common procedure to inflate a balloon in the artery before and after the stent is placed. Now a new study from Hopkins researchers puts one step of that practice into question.

Reporting online in the Journal of Vascular Surgery, study leader Mahmoud B. Malas and colleagues found in a study of 103 patients at Johns Hopkins Bayview that inflating a balloon inside the artery after placing the stent greatly increases patients’ risk of serious complications. Omitting that step appears to prevent patients from developing dangerously low blood pressure, an extremely slow heart rate, or even a stroke or heart attack. “In my mind, this is a study that should change medical practice,” says Malas, an associate professor of surgery at the School of Medicine. “Our work suggests that doctors should never balloon a stent after placing it. There is no upside.” EBL