Complications of carotid angioplasty and stenting

Neurosurg Focus. 1998 Dec 15;5(6):e4. doi: 10.3171/foc.1998.5.6.7.


The authors report the complications that occurred in their experience with performing recanalization procedures in the internal carotid artery and present their treatment strategies. The complications can be classified into those that were periprocedural and those that were postprocedural. The former include complications related to the vascular-approach access site of and those associated with the dilation and stenting procedure. Other complications observed included embolic events, dissection, vascular spasm, bradycardia, inappropriate dilation, occlusion of the external carotid artery, and rare, unusual complications such as the occurrence of iatrogenic cavernous carotid fistula. Postprocedure complications occurred in the hours and days following the procedure in the form of embolic and occlusive events, and hypotension and bradycardia were seen as late complications in the months following the procedure. The authors discuss how such complications occur and provide suggestions on how to avoid them. The role of stent placement and the potential use of protective devices are explored. Overall, adequate use of currently available systems allows for safe application of endovascular treatment techniques that avoid altogether or treat these potential complications. A reduced incidence of complications related to the initial individual learning curve may be obtained with preclinical training, in which use of invitro models should be considered. Surgical standby no longer seems required; however, early posttreatment surveillance in intensive care unit is mandatory to avoid the remaining primary complications.