Management of neurological complications of carotid artery stenting

M. H. Wholey, M. H. Wholey, W. A. Tan, B. Toursarkissian, S. Bailey, G. Eles, C. Jarmolowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Purpose: To review the neurological complications associated with extracranial carotid artery stenting and to preliminarily assess techniques used to manage these complications. Methods: Between April 1994 and August 2000, 450 patients (270 men; mean age 70.2 years, range 27-89) had stents implanted to treat 472 cervical carotid artery stenoses. Over half (257, 57%) of the patients were symptomatic. A variety of stents were implanted percutaneously after predilation of the lesion; a third of the patients received glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors intraprocedurally in addition to a standard oral antiplatelet regimen (aspirin and ticlopidine or clopidogrel). Occurrence and management of neurological complications within the 30-day periprocedural period were reviewed. Results: There were 14 (3.1%) transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), 10 (2.2%) minor strokes, and 3 (0.7%) major strokes. Among 6 (1.3%) procedure-related deaths, 4 had neurological causes. The total stroke and death rate was 4.2% (n =19). All the TIAs, 4 of which occurred between 1 and 14 days poststenting, were treated medically, as were the minor strokes, 3 of which occurred >24 hours after stenting. Only 2 minor stroke patients had mild residual upper extremity motor deficits. Intra-arterial thrombolytic therapy was administered in 5 cases (2 major strokes survivors and 3 patients who suffered a neurologically-related death); occlusions were identified in the proximal middle cerebral artery (MCA) in 3 and the distal MCA in 2. Angiographic improvement was noted in 4 (80%), but only the 2 (40%) with distal MCA occlusions did well clinically. Conclusions: Neurological complications following carotid artery stenting are inevitable. The occurrence of minor strokes >24 hours following stenting may indicate a possible late embolic phenomenon, which warrants investigation. Likewise, the marginal efficacy of intra-arterial thrombolytic therapy demonstrates an inability to lyse embolic plaque and underscores the need for effective distal protection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-353
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Endovascular Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 12 2001


  • Carotid stenosis
  • Palmaz stent
  • Stroke
  • Thrombolysis
  • Transient ischemic attack

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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