The Neurointerventionalists at The Valley Hospital provide minimally invasive treatment options for patients with intracranial stenosis, atherosclerosis and carotid disease, using a method known as stenting, or angioplasty, to address dangerous artery blockages near the brain and head. This procedure has been pioneered by cardiologists in heart attacks, and is now also available in the brain.
Stenting is a minimally invasive non-surgical technique used to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels of the brain. A tiny mesh wire tube, called a stent, is placed to help open the blocked vessel, which restores blood flow through the carotid or vertebral arteries, and ultimately reduces or removes the risk of stroke.
Intracranial stenosis is the narrowing of blood vessels within the head. These blockages are usually caused by a hardening of the arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis. Because of the location of these blockages, medication as treatment is not as effective in reopening the vessels as it is elsewhere in the body. If a blockage within the head becomes severe, blood flow to the brain may be affected, leading to a potential stroke. Intracranial stenting (or angioplasty) is a procedure used to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels (arteries) in the head to increase blood flow and decrease the risk of a stroke.
For intracranial stenosis or atherosclerosis, the stenting procedure is done through a catheter, which is placed into an artery, usually in the leg, and threaded up to the blocked vessel. A very small balloon-tipped catheter is then placed within the blockage and inflated to open the vessel; sometimes a stent is placed. Blood thinners are given during the procedure and for a short time after to keep the vessel open as it starts to heal. Patients can usually go home the next day.
Extracranial atherosclerosis is a hardening of the arteries which supplies blood to the head and neck, called the carotid and vertebral arteries. This hardening leads to narrowing and blockage of the vessels. Pieces of these blockages can break off and travel into the head, where they may cut off blood supply to the brain. This can lead to transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) or ministrokes.
Stenting may be considered for the treatment of extracranial atherosclerosis when the vessel narrowing is severe, if a patient is in bad health, or if the patient has previously undergone radiation of the neck.
The stenting procedure is done through a catheter, which is placed into an artery, usually in the leg, and threaded up to the blocked vessel. A very small balloon-tipped catheter is then placed within the blockage and inflated to open the vessel; sometimes a stent is placed. Blood thinners are given during the procedure and for a short time after to keep the vessel open as it starts to heal. Patients can usually go home the next day.
The large blood vessels located on each side of the neck are known as the carotid arteries. These vessels are responsible for carrying blood to the brain. A blood clot in a carotid artery can decrease or cut off the supply of blood to the brain which can result in a stroke. Carotid stenting has become an important treatment option for patients with certain blockages and health conditions.
Carotid stenting is a procedure in which a filter device is placed beyond the carotid blockage to capture any debris that might break off during the procedure. A mesh tube called a carotid stent is then placed in the artery at the site of the narrowing and expanded to open the artery.