Introduction: The aim of this prospective observational registry was to study the outcome of symptomatic patients presenting with recent TIA or minor stroke and severe carotid stenosis, submitted to early percutaneous treatment by stenting. A secondary aim was to evaluate the biological activity of the symptomatic carotid plaques by serial serum and urinary markers (PAPP-A, hs-CRP, MMP-2/MMP-9, IL-6/IL-8, TNF alpha, CD40L) measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay before and after treatment.
Methods: From May 2005 to June 2006, 57 patients were enrolled in this prospective registry. All patients underwent carotid stenting using a concentric filter for cerebral protection. The procedure was performed within 24-48hrs of the last attack in patients with TIA (n=24, 42%) and between 14 and 30 days in patients with stroke (n=33, 58%).
Results: Successful stent implantation was achieved in all cases (100%). Adverse events at 1 month were 1 death (1.7%) and 2 TIAs (3.5%). Some of the vulnerability markers, in particular those reflecting an active systemic inflammatory process of the plaque (PAPP-A, hs-CR, and IL-6), were significantly elevated at the time of enrolment, increased after stenting and decreased after 30 days.
Conclusion: Deferred CAS is feasible and safe in selected patients with symptomatic carotid stenosis. This preliminary study in a limited series of patients with unstable carotid plaques revealed that endovascular treatment has a satisfactory outcome considering the very high risk profile of the patient population. The evaluation of some biomarkers suggested an inflammatory role in the process of an unstable carotid plaque generating an acute cerebral event.