Minimally Invasive Procedure to Treat Carotid Artery Disease
If you have carotid artery disease (CAD) and are at high risk for stroke, invasive surgery may not be your only treatment option. The Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Palmdale Regional Medical Center can treat many patients for CAD using a minimally invasive, carotid stent system.
For those patients, this procedure uses smaller incisions and can result in less pain and quicker recovery times than traditional procedures. Check with your cardiologist to see if this procedure is right for you.
If you need a referral to a physician at Palmdale Regional Medical Center, call our free physician referral service at 1-800-851-9780.
The Stenting Procedure
To perform carotid stenting procedures, cardiologists insert a needle in the patient's groin and then use imaging technology to thread a catheter through the body to the blocked section of the carotid artery in the neck. Before they begin to open the blockage, doctors open a protection system — a tiny basketlike device — to collect any plaque and debris that may be dislodged to prevent it from traveling through the blood stream and potentially causing a stroke.
With the protection system in place, cardiologists use balloon angioplasty to open the blockage and implant a small mesh tube called a stent. The stent helps keep the artery open while doctors remove the protection device. Patients usually stay in the hospital for 24 hours for observation.
A Safer Option
The carotid stenting procedure is an alternative to carotid endarterectomy, a type of invasive surgery that was the standard treatment for CAD. During a carotid endarterectomy, doctors make an incision in the patient's neck and artery to clear the blockage. This procedure requires general anesthesia, a hospital stay of several days and weeks of recovery.
The FDA-approved carotid stenting procedure can be used for patients who meet specific criteria, including:
- Patients whose carotid arteries are at least 80 percent blocked
- Those who have a 50 percent blockage and have experienced a stroke or mini-stroke
- Patients with significant carotid artery disease who aren’t candidates for open surgery
The Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Palmdale Regional Medical Center uses advanced 3D imaging and digital detection systems that reduces patient exposure to dye and radiation, compared to analog systems.
Fast Facts About CAD
- CAD occurs when plaque builds up on the walls of the carotid arteries in the neck. The carotid arteries are the vessels that transport oxygen-rich blood to the brain.
- People who have CAD may be at risk for ischemic stroke — the most common type of stroke. These strokes can occur when the carotid artery becomes blocked, or a piece of plaque or a blood clot obstructs blood flow to the brain.
- About one in four strokes are caused by carotid artery disease.
- Stroke is the fifth most common cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- About 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.