Stents for carotid arteries

A forum to discuss Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency and its relationship to Multiple Sclerosis.

Stents for carotid arteries

Postby NHE » Sat Feb 27, 2010 5:29 pm

Stent surgery for blocked carotid arteries is deemed successful even after nine deaths.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/h ... tents.html

Stroke study finds neck stents safe, effective

By MARILYNN MARCHIONE

AP Medical Writer

People at risk of a stroke because of narrowed neck arteries can be safely treated with a less drastic option than the surgery done now, the largest study ever done on these treatments concludes.

If Medicare agrees to cover it, hundreds of thousands of Americans a year might be able to have an artery-opening procedure and a stent instead of surgery to remove built-up plaque, doctors say. A stent is a wire-mesh tube that props the blood vessel open.

Stents have long been used to fix heart arteries but are approved for use in the neck only for people too sick for surgery. The new study, in people with less severe disease, suggests stents may find much wider use.

"The sea of people is gigantic" who could benefit, said Dr. Walter Koroshetz, deputy director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the study's main sponsor.

"We now have two safe and effective methods" to treat neck vessels, said Dr. Thomas Brott of the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla. He led the study and gave results Friday at an American Stroke Association conference.

However, the treatments have different complications, and not all doctors are convinced stents are as safe. Three previous studies found they were not, including one published online Thursday by the British journal The Lancet.

The reason: Even though stents prevent strokes in the long run, the procedure itself can trigger a stroke if a bit of plaque travels to the brain.

The new study revealed a tradeoff: Strokes were a more frequent complication with stents, while heart attacks were more common after surgery.

Doctors say which option a patient chooses may depend on their general health, what risks they are willing to accept and how badly they want to avoid surgery.

Surveys show that people worry more about stroke than a heart attack, said Dr. Lee Schwamm, a top neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital.

"They're terrified of surviving a stroke with major disability ... ending their years in a nursing home," he said.

In the study, "stroke was by far the more disabling complication," said Dr. Wesley Moore, a University of California at Los Angeles doctor who oversaw the surgery part of the study.

About 795,000 Americans each year suffer a stroke. Many are caused by a clot that forms in a narrowed neck artery and travels to the brain. Doctors can check for narrowed arteries by using a stethoscope to listen for abnormal sounds in neck arteries, and a painless ultrasound test can show blockages.

The top treatment has been surgery: with the patient under general anesthesia, the artery is cut open, the plaque removed, and the vessel sewn back together. Stents won approval as an alternative for certain patients in 2004; half a dozen companies make the devices now, although Abbott Laboratories stands to benefit most because its stents were in the study.

To place them, doctors put a tube in a blood vessel in the groin and push it to the narrowed artery. A parachute-like filter is placed to trap bits of plaque that dislodge and keep them from traveling to the brain. A balloon is inflated to flatten the clog, the stent is placed to hold the artery open, and the filter is removed. The patient is awake but sedated.

The study involved 2,502 patients in the United States and Canada. Half had recent symptoms such as a ministroke. The rest had no symptoms but significantly narrowed neck arteries. They were given either surgery or a stent made by Abbott Vascular, a division of North Chicago, Ill.-based Abbott Labs, which helped sponsor the trial.

A month later, about 4 percent of the stent group had suffered strokes versus 2 percent of those who had surgery. About 2 percent of the surgery group had heart attacks compared to 1 percent of those given stents.

There were nine deaths in the stent group versus four in the surgery group, but the difference in a study this size was so small that it could have occurred by chance alone, Brott said.

Age mattered.

"If you were younger than 70, you were slightly better off with a stent," while older patients fared better with surgery, Brott said.

There is no age limit for the surgery, said UCLA's Moore. "I've operated on people who are centenarians. If somebody lives to be 100 years old, they've got something going for them."

The study did not include a group of patients treated only with medicines to control stroke risk factors, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. Without such a comparison group, it's impossible to know just how many strokes either treatment prevented.

Dr. Charles Simonton, chief medical officer of Abbott Vascular, said the results "are particularly impressive" because the study started a decade ago, when neck stents were still a new technology.

About 30,000 neck stents were used last year compared to 100,000 surgeries, but more people might be treated if a non-surgical option becomes available, Brott said.

Medicare pays $7,500 to $11,000 for surgery; stents cost around $12,000 because of the price of the devices, which range from $3,500 to nearly $5,000, said Dr. Charles Ross, vascular surgery chief at the University of Louisville.

If stents do win wider approval, patients should go to a place that offers both "so they can be given an unbiased opinion of how they would do with either procedure" or medicines alone, he said.

A patient in Jacksonville, Fla., Christoph Dormann, said: "I was perfectly at ease and at peace leaving that decision to the doctors I trusted."

He received a stent as part of the study and has been well enough to travel to Africa and work in his family's business at age 73.

"There may be advantages and disadvantages in different types of cases" for stents or surgery, said Dr. Barry Katzen, medical director at Baptist Cardiac & Vascular Institute in Miami, who had patients in the study. "Like many areas of medicine, patients will have a choice."
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improving circulation to head

Postby gkk » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:54 pm

Some people do exercises for neck and chin in order tone the muscles in these areas and improve their appearance. Other types of exercise often improve circulation in the part of the body being worked. Has anyone ever looked at neck exercises as a way of improving circulation through the carotid arteries? This seems a whole lot safer (and cheaper) than implanting stents at these critical and vulnerable points.
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Postby cheerleader » Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:20 pm

thanks for this, NHE.
A differential to point out is that blockage in the carotid artery often involves clotting issues. This is why stroke is mentioned as a complication. Clots can break off and head up to the brain. Stenosis is a physical narrowing of a vein, not involving clots, so stroke risk is minimized in CCSVI treatment. Even so, stent patients remain on blood thinners after the procedure.

One of the arguments against using stents in the neck is the amount of movement and flexibility needed in the neck area...it appears, from these preliminary studies, that these doctors are not concerned with stent patency in the neck. That is encouraging.

There is still an ongoing debate between heart surgeons and endovascular doctors twenty years since stents were first used in the chest. Both sides say their approach is better. Now that endovascular docs are showing success in the neck, there will be further debate between surgeons and endovasular doctors once again. Stents have a proven efficacy in many situations. I believe patients have the right to consult with the doctors of their choice to get an unbiased opinion .

If stents do win wider approval, patients should go to a place that offers both "so they can be given an unbiased opinion of how they would do with either procedure" or medicines alone, he said.
A patient in Jacksonville, Fla., Christoph Dormann, said: "I was perfectly at ease and at peace leaving that decision to the doctors I trusted."
He received a stent as part of the study and has been well enough to travel to Africa and work in his family's business at age 73.
"There may be advantages and disadvantages in different types of cases" for stents or surgery, said Dr. Barry Katzen, medical director at Baptist Cardiac & Vascular Institute in Miami, who had patients in the study. "Like many areas of medicine, patients will have a choice."


The neurologists- who are now scaring patients away from even investigating CCSVI diagnosis- are not unbiased. They are also uninformed. This is why I tell patients to take the research to vascular doctors and interventional radiologists. These doctors understand the technology, and can help patients assess the true risk vs. benefit ratio of addressing venous stenosis in the jugular and azygos veins. Neurologists cannot do that.
cheer
Husband dx RRMS 3/07
dx dual jugular vein stenosis (CCSVI) 4/09
http://ccsviinms.blogspot.com
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Postby patientx » Mon Apr 05, 2010 5:05 pm

cheerleader wrote:One of the arguments against using stents in the neck is the amount of movement and flexibility needed in the neck area...it appears, from these preliminary studies, that these doctors are not concerned with stent patency in the neck. That is encouraging.....

I don't think it's right to say that since long-term complications, such as stent fracture, weren't even mentioned in the article, this wasn't a concern.

...I believe patients have the right to consult with the doctors of their choice to get anunbiased opinion .....
..

The neurologists- who are now scaring patients away from even investigating CCSVI diagnosis- are not unbiased. They are also uninformed. This is why I tell patients to take the research to vascular doctors and interventional radiologists. These doctors understand the technology, and can help patients assess the true risk vs. benefit ratio of addressing venous stenosis in the jugular and azygos veins. Neurologists cannot do that.
cheer


Again, I don't think it's fair to say all neurologists are biased against their patients. You could argue that the vascular doctors who stand to make some money from CCSVI are not completely unbiased. Maybe these neurologists don't want their patients to undergo unnecessary/unproven procedures.
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Postby fogdweller » Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:43 am

This articld was all about stents in ARTERIES. Stents in veins is much more problematical as to patency. Artery walls are muscular and very stable. Vein walls may expand, are relatively flacid, etc. and worry me as to how well a stent will attach to them. Look what happens to the veins in CCVI.

On the otherhand, I would worry less about stroke since the blood has to travel down to the heart, through the lungs which would be a pretty good filter (you might end up with a pulmonary embolism) so the clot would be less likely to travle all the way back into the brain and cause a stroke.

Of course, with reflux, some of the blood might be going back into the brain, although if the stenosis was relieved, hopefully not too much reflux.

Just my unexpert thoughts. I am not a doctor, but you are right, Cheer, the people who know these things are the cardiologists and interventional radiologists, not the neuros.
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