Purpose: To report the results of a multicenter safety trial of percutaneous carotid stenting performed by vascular surgeons.
Methods: Symptomatic or asymptomatic patients > or = 65 years of age with internal carotid artery (ICA) stenoses > or = 70% and < or = 2-cm long were eligible for enrollment. The procedures were performed in an operating room with the choice of anesthesia and the percutaneous access site at the discretion of the surgeon. Only Palmaz stents were used.
Results: From January 1, 1996 to December 31, 1997, 99 patients (74 men, mean age 70 years, range 51 to 94) were enrolled in the study. More than half (57 of 99 patients) were asymptomatic. The direct cervical approach was used predominantly (97%). Three (3%) cases were converted to surgery for inability to access the artery or deploy the stent (technical success 97%). No perioperative death or myocardial infarction was reported. Six (6%) procedural complications included 1 reversible arterial spasm, 2 dissections, 1 cervical hematoma, and 2 residual stenoses. One neurological event reversed within 7 days (1% minor stroke rate) and 4 (4%) transient ischemic attacks resolved within 24 hours. One (1%) asymptomatic early occlusion occurred 2 days postoperatively. No neurological event was observed in the 1- to 24-month follow-up (mean 13 months). Two (2%) patients died of nonprocedurally related causes. No stent compression was seen, but 1 asymptomatic occlusion and 3 asymptomatic, non-flow-limiting restenoses (2 < 40%, 1 at 60%) were found within 1 year (3% restenosis rate on an intention-to-treat basis). Patency was 98% at 1 year.
Conclusions: The results of this trial support the contention that carotid stenting of short ICA lesions can be performed with a low neurological complication rate.