Carotid artery stenting: is there a need to revise ultrasound velocity criteria?

J Vasc Surg. 2004 Jan;39(1):58-66. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2003.10.043.


Objectives: Ultrasound (US) velocity criteria have not been well-established for patients undergoing carotid artery stenting (CAS). A potential source of error in using US after CAS is that reduced compliance in the stented artery may result in elevated velocity relative to the native artery. We measured arterial compliance in the stented artery, and developed customized velocity criteria for use early after CAS.

Methods: US was performed before and within 3 days after CAS, and after 1 month in a subset of 26 patients. Post-procedural peak systolic velocity (PSV) and end-diastolic velocity (EDV) of the internal carotid artery (ICA), PSV/EDV ratio, and internal carotid artery to common carotid artery ratio (ICA/CCA) were recorded. These were compared with degree of in-stent residual stenosis determined at carotid angiography performed at the completion of CAS. Peterson's elastic modulus (Ep) and compliance (Cp) of the ICA were determined in a subgroup of 20 patients at the distal end of the stent and in the same region in the native ICA before stenting.

Results: Ninety CAS procedures were analyzed. Mean (+/-SD) angiographic residual stenosis after CAS was 5.4 +/- 9.1%, whereas corresponding PSV by US was 120.4 +/- 32.4 cm/s; EDV, 41.4 +/- 18.6 cm/s; PSV/EDV ratio, 3.3 +/- 1.2; and ICA/CCA ratio, 1.6 +/- 0.5. PSV was unchanged at 1 month. Post-CAS PSV and ICA/CCA ratio correlated most with degree of stenosis (P <.0001 for both). Only six patients demonstrated in-stent residual stenosis 20% or greater, but the standard US threshold of PSV 130 cm/s or greater (validated for >20% ICA stenosis in our laboratory) categorized 38 of 90 patients as having stenosis 20% or greater. Receiver operator curve analysis demonstrated that a combined threshold of PSV 150 cm/s or greater and ICA/CCA ratio 2.16 or greater were optimal for detecting residual stenosis of 20% or greater, with sensitivity 100%, specificity 98%, positive predictive value 75%, and negative predictive value 100%. After placement of a stent, the ICA demonstrated significantly increased Ep (1.2 vs 4.4 x 10(3) mm Hg; P =.004) and decreased Cp (9.8 vs 3.2 %mm Hg x 10(-2); P =.0004).

Conclusions: Currently accepted US velocity criteria validated in our laboratory for nonstented ICAs falsely classified several stented ICAs with normal diameter on carotid angiograms as having residual in-stent stenosis 20% or greater. We propose a new criterion that defines PSV less than 150 cm/s, with ICA/CCA ratio less than 2.16, as the best correlate to a normal lumen (0%-19% stenosis) in the recently stented ICA. This was associated with increased stiffness of the stented ICA (increased Ep, decreased Cp). These preliminary results suggest that placement of a stent in the carotid artery alters its biomechanical properties, which may cause an increase in US velocity measurements in the absence of a technical error or residual stenotic disease.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Carotid Artery, Internal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carotid Artery, Internal / surgery
  • Carotid Stenosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carotid Stenosis / physiopathology
  • Carotid Stenosis / surgery*
  • Elasticity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • ROC Curve
  • Radiography
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Stents*
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Duplex*