Nonsurgical Carotid Revascularization

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Carotid endarterectomy is a well-established treatment of improving the carotid luminal diameter and preventing strokes, and the indications and complications are well-defined. Carotid angioplasty and stent placements are relatively newer ways of treating carotid artery stenosis. In certain contexts, they may have some advantages over carotid endarterectomy. However, the success rates, morbidity, and mortality associated with these procedures are less well characterized. In earlier comparative studies, the incidence of ipsilateral stroke rate was higher with angioplasty, but in later studies, this trend is reversing. Angioplasty may also have an edge in specific situations like patients with coexisting significant coronary arterial disease, contralateral carotid artery occlusion, and in instances when the narrowing is long and at multiple sites. Protective devices like distal occlusion balloon and filter protection devices may reduce the incidence of stroke. We are still awaiting the results of some major randomized head-to-head trials comparing carotid endarterectomy and stenting.

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