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Carotid Angioplasty

Carotid angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure to treat a narrowing in the carotid artery which carries critical blood flow to the brain. This procedure can be done in lieu of Carotid Endarterectomy surgery in patients who are considered a ‘high surgical risk.’ This procedure is performed in a state-of-the-art cardiovascular catheterization lab. Using high-resolution fluoroscopic (X-ray) video and film equipment, the catheter is guided through to the carotid artery that is being treated. Once the catheter is in place the balloon is inflated and the narrowed carotid artery is stretched open. The fatty plaque or blockage is pressed against the carotid artery walls enlarging the diameter of the carotid artery. After the blocked area of the carotid artery is widened, the balloon is deflated and removed. Blood flowing through the carotid artery is increased, and oxygenated blood can be supplied to the neck and brain and help reduce the risk of a debilitating stroke.

Carotid Stent Implants

Carotid stent implants are often performed in conjunction with carotid angioplasty. Carotid stent implants help hold open the carotid artery so that blood can flow through the blocked or clogged carotid artery. A stent is a small, lattice-shaped wire mesh tube, which props open the artery and remains permanently in place. To implant the sent in the carotid artery, the stent is passed through the catheter and placed in the carotid artery.

These procedures are performed in a cardiovascular catheterization laboratory, with local anesthesia. An IV (intravenous line) into your arm or hand will provide you with medication to make the procedure as comfortable as possible.

Patient Guides: Preparing for Cardiac and Peripheral Catheterization