Purpose: To compare endovascular stent placement with percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) of carotid arteries with respect to distal embolization and findings at intravascular ultrasonography (US), magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, and histopathologic analysis.
Materials and methods: PTA was performed in situ in one carotid artery, and stent placement was performed in the other, in ten cadavers (age range, 57-82 years; mean age, 68 years) with severe atherosclerosis by using fluoroscopic and intravascular US guidance. The carotid artery was connected to a pressurized tubing system in which a pulsatile pump circulated water. The effluent water was collected during the interventions, and after filtration and staining, the embolic material was analyzed histologically. After the interventions, the arteries were excised and 1.5-T spin-echo MR imaging was performed.
Results: No difference in severity of distal embolization during stent placement versus during PTA was found. The embolic particles were composed mainly of intimal strips and cellular constituents of the atherosclerotic plaques. MR imaging accurately depicted postinterventional changes, and the findings correlated closely with those of intravascular US and histopathologic analysis.
Conclusion: Although stent placement and PTA were associated with equal distal embolization, the smooth surface and fully patent arterial lumen depicted at intravascular US and MR imaging postinterventionally may indicate that stent placement is preferable to PTA.