Background. Percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) and stenting seems to be, at present, the treatment of choice for early restenosis after endarterectomy and for atherosclerotic stenoses of supra-aortic trunks near or at the ostium. In contrast, the role of PTA and stenting for treatment of symptomatic and asymptomatic atherosclerotic stenosis of carotid bifurcation is still debated. Methods. The present study comprises 27 consecutive cases of atherosclerotic lesions of the carotid bifurcation treated with PTA and stenting. All patients were symptomatic, except for 2 suffering from asymptomatic stenosis with contralateral carotid occlusion. There were 23 stenoses occluding 70% or more of the lumen according to the NASCET criteria and 4 mild stenoses (50-60% of the lumen) with large type C ulcers. Criteria for exclusion from surgery in these cases were aged > 79 years, previous neck surgery for laryngeal cancer, carotid bifurcation at C2, association with intracranial aneurysms, occlusion of the contralateral carotid artery, and heart, lung and kidney diseases. All procedures were performed under local anaesthesia associated with mild sedation in a few cases. In all cases, self-expandable stents (Wallstent) were used. Follow-up ranged from 6 to 37 months. Findings. Transient neurological deficit occurred in 3 cases (11%). One case (3.7%) experienced a minor stroke at three months. Asymptomatic tight restenosis due to intimal hyperplasia occurred in one case (3.7%). In 8 cases (40%) of complex stenosis involving common and internal carotid arteries there was some loss of contact of the stent with the wall of the common carotid artery in the late follow-up. One case (3.7%) experienced severe and prolonged hypotension and bradycardia during the release of the stent. Interpretation. From literature data and our results it emerges that periprocedural catastrophic embolism is unlikely to occur. The best results are undoubtedly obtained when treating stenosis limited to the internal carotid artery. Nevertheless, the ideal stent to treat vessels of different calibre, as occurs at the carotid bifurcation, is not yet available. The problem of periprocedural cerebral protection has not been resolved. Reported series are heterogeneous and retrospective, and an adequate follow-up of cases is still lacking.
- Extracranial carotid stenosis
- Percutaneous angioplasty
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology