Purpose: To assess the technical feasibility and the results of cerebral protection with the GuardWire Plus Temporary Occlusion & Aspiration System during carotid artery stenting for high-grade stenosis.
Patients and methods: In 20 patients 20 carotid artery stenoses were treated with stent placement under cerebral protection. A contralateral carotid occlusion was an exclusion criteria for the use of the protection device. In all cases only aspiration, but no flushing was used before deflation of the occlusion balloon. In 17 of 20 patients diffusion-weighted (DW-)MRT imaging of the brain was performed before and 24 hours after the procedure.
Results: The stent implantation was successfully performed in all patients. In 3 patients neurologic symptoms occurred during the occlusion time. In these 3 patients the symptoms immediately disappeared after deflation of the balloon. In one case there was dilatation of the internal carotid artery at the site of the balloon inflation. In 3 of the 17 DW-MR images new ipsilateral cerebral lesions, in one case a new contralateral lesion occurred after the procedure.
Conclusions: The cerebral protection procedure is technically feasible. The occlusion of the internal carotid artery was not tolerated by all patients. The DW-MR imaging demonstrated cerebral lesions indicating the occurrence of cerebral microemboli during the procedure. Further investigations are necessary to determine if the use of the cerebral protection device will improve the results of the carotid artery stenting for high-grade stenoses.