Carotid artery stent (CAS) is a process which is mainly used to open up a narrow, tapered carotid artery. The procedure consists of positioning a small, expandable tube called a stent in the artery that is narrow. The surgery is termed as carotid angioplasty stenting. Basically, it is a method used to open clogged arteries to avoid or for treating the stroke. According to research done on carotid artery stent market, the FDA approved this procedure in April 2004, and each year approximately 180,000 surgical carotid endarterectomy procedures are performed in the U.S. There are two carotid arteries which are situated on either side of the neck and possess a crucial role of supplying blood to the brain. Over time, these arteries are clustered and narrowed, also sometimes damaged by fatty deposits known as plaque. In cases where immediate treatment is not given, these plaques break open and result in blood clot. Because of the blood clot, the blood supply to the brain might get hampered and that might lead to a stroke. Carotid artery stenting has the potential to enhance the flow of blood to the brain and reduce the risk of a stroke. In this method, the surgeon inserts and inflates a small balloon in the area where the carotid artery is blocked to broaden the artery. Carotid angioplasty is believed to be a noninvasive technique since it is much less invasive that a normal surgery. A surgeon makes a tiny incision in a blood vessel in the patient’s groin. In fact, the patient does not require general anesthesia and is kept awake during the entire procedure, and is given medications and fluids through an intravenous (IV) catheter to calm the body.
At the time of the carotid artery stenting procedure, the surgeon makes use of a catheter tube which helps in inserting the stent. The catheter is inserted in the large artery, i.e., femoral artery in the groin. Later, the surgeon strings the catheter through several other arteries all the way up to the carotid artery. To view the area of blockage, a dye is used to make the carotid artery visible on the X-ray images. That is how the complete path from the groin artery to the neck artery is easily visible for the surgeon to perform the procedure.
Once the clogged artery has been identified, the surgeon inserts a balloon along with the stent to the carotid artery. The balloon is carefully positioned inside the stent and inflated, which helps in opening the stent and pushing the stent up against the wall of the artery. After successfully placing the stent, the balloon in deflated and carefully removed through the catheter. With time, the blood cells which line the blood vessel start to grow in and around the stent to assist in holding the stent in place permanently.
Disclaimer: The information given in this write-up is purely for educating the reader. It is not meant to be a substitute for any advice from a medical expert.