Self-expanding stent design systems for carotid artery stenting (CAS) have morphed from nontapered (NTS) to tapered (TS); however, the impact of this change is unknown. We reviewed the outcomes of CAS with these two broad categories of stents in a single-center retrospective review of 308 CAS procedures from May 2001 to July 2007. Nitinol self-expanding TS or NTS coupled with cerebral embolic protection devices were used to treat extracranial carotid occlusive disease. Data analysis included demographics, procedural records, duplex exams, and conventional arteriography. Mean follow-up was 18 months (range 1-69). Restenosis was defined as >or=80% in-stent carotid artery stenosis by angiography. The mean age of the entire cohort was 71.3 years (75% men, 25% women). Of the 308 cases, 233 were de novo lesions and 75 had a prior ipsilateral carotid endarterectomy (n = 44) or external beam radiation exposure (n = 31). Preprocedure neurological symptoms were present in 30% of patients. TS were used in 156 procedures and NTS in 152 procedures. The 30-day ipsilateral stroke and death rates were 1.3% and 0.3%, respectively. An additional three (1.0%) posterior circulation strokes occurred. There was no statistically significant difference in the 30-day total stroke rates between TS (3.2%, n = 5) and NTS (1.3%, n = 2) (p = 0.5). At midterm follow-up, restenosis or asymptomatic occlusion was detected in eight cases (2.6%). All occurred in arteries treated with NTS, and this was statistically different when compared to arteries treated with TS (p = 0.03). Furthermore, a post-hoc subgroup analysis revealed significant correlation (chi(2) = 0.02) for restenosis in "hostile necks" when separated by TS vs. NTS. Early CAS outcomes between TS and NTS are comparable. In contrast, self-expanding nitinol TS may have a lower incidence of significant restenosis or asymptomatic occlusion when compared to NTS.