A carotid artery angioplasty and stenting procedure is an alternative to surgical carotid endarterectomy. It is much less invasive, and can be done under local anesthesia.

What are carotid arteries?

Carotid arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood up the neck to the brain. People with carotid artery disease have a narrowing in one or both of their carotid arteries, which limits blood flow to the brain. These people have a high risk of having a stroke.

What is angioplasty and stenting?

Angioplasty is a procedure that can be done on an artery that is narrowed or blocked with plaque. It is commonly done in coronary arteries in the heart, but can be done on other arteries as well. A catheter is threaded from an artery in the wrist or groin to the narrowed artery. A thin wire is passed through the narrowing, and a catheter with a balloon on it is threaded over the wire and placed inside the narrowed portion. The balloon is inflated, which pushes the plaque out, widening the inside of the artery.

Stenting is a procedure that is done in a similar fashion to angioplasty, which places a stent in the narrowed area to hold the inside of the artery open.

Angioplasty and stenting are both procedures that can be performed on carotid arteries. They can be done in the cardiac catheterization lab under local anesthesia. This improves blood flow to the brain and decreases the risk of having a stroke.

Watch this video by Mayo Clinic about carotid angioplasty and stenting to learn more. 

Resources

The following resources have more information on carotid angioplasty and stenting: