The relative safety of percutaneous carotid interventions remains controversial. Few studies have used diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) to evaluate the safety of these interventions. We compared the incidence and distribution of cerebral microembolic events after carotid angioplasty and stenting (CAS) with distal protection to standard open carotid endarterectomy (CEA) using DW-MRI.From November 2004 through August 2006, 69 carotid interventions (27 CAS, and 42 CEA) were performed in 68 males at a single institution. Pre- and postprocedure DW-MRI exams were obtained on each patient undergoing CAS and the 20 most recent CEA operations. These 46 patients (47 procedures as one patient underwent bilateral CEAs in a staged fashion) constitute our study sample, and the hospital records of these patients (27 CAS and 20 CEA) were retrospectively reviewed. The incidence and location of acute, postprocedural microemboli were determined using DW-MRIs and assessed independently by two neuroradiologists without knowledge of the subjects' specific procedure.Nineteen CAS patients (70%, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 42%-81%) demonstrated evidence of postoperative, acute, cerebral microemboli by DW-MRI vs none of the CEA patients (0%, 95% CI: 0%-17%) (P < .0001). Of the 19 CAS patients with postoperative emboli, nine (47%) were ipsilateral to the index carotid lesion, three (16%) contralateral, and seven (36%) bilateral. The median number of ipsilateral microemboli identified in the CAS group was 1 (interquartile ranges [IQR]: 0-2, range 0-21). The median number of contralateral microemboli identified in the CAS group was 0 (IQR: 0-1, range 0-5). Three (11%) CAS patients experienced temporary neurologic sequelae lasting less than 36 hours. These patients suffered 12 (six ipsilateral and six contralateral), 20 (19 ipsilateral and one contralateral), and zero microemboli, respectively. By univariate analysis, performing an arch angiogram prior to CAS was associated with a higher risk of microemboli (median microemboli 5 vs none, P =.04)Although our early experience suggests that CAS may be performed safely (no permanent neurologic deficits following 27 consecutive procedures), cerebral microembolic events occurred in over two-thirds of the procedures despite the uniform use of distal protection. Open carotid surgery in this series seems to offer a lower risk of periprocedural microembolic events detected by DW-MRI.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.j.jvs.2007.04.049
View details for PubMedID 17600657