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UCSD Healthcare physicians have performed the first San Diego carotid stent using an approved device to prevent stroke in an 87 year-old patient with an extremely diseased carotid artery. While carotid stents have been performed in San Diego before for stroke prevention, those stents involved the use of off-label and investigational devices. The device implanted at UCSD’s Thornton Hospital on October 26 utilized the Acculink stent, developed by Guidant Corporation that received FDA clearance in late September 2004.
Utilizing techniques pioneered to open arteries leading to the heart, physicians used the carotid stent and its companion filter to clear and prop open the carotid arteries, which provide blood to the head and brain. The filter prevents debris such as clots from reaching the brain. Cardiologist Ehtisham Mahmud, M.D., performed the procedure with fellow cardiologist, Ali Salami, M.D, and neurointerventionalist Charles Kerber, M.D. Mahmud emphasized the importance of a multi-disciplinary team to insert the stent.
“Because there can be cardiac and neurological complications in this procedure, it is important to have a cardiologist and a neuro interventionalist on the team,” said Mahmud. “Should there be a complication, the problems can be managed immediately by the team members. This procedure went smoothly, without any complications. The patient had a quick recovery and has already gone home.”
The carotid stenting procedure is expected to dramatically reduce the need for carotid endarterectomy, the standard surgical method for restoring blood flow within the carotid arteries. The endarterectomy procedure requires an incision in the patient’s neck and artery to remove plaque and debris from inside the vessel wall, thereby reducing the incidence of an embolic stroke. Each year physicians throughout the United States perform approximately 167,000 carotid endarterectomies.
Carotid artery blockages can cause fatal or disabling strokes. Approximately 2.5 million Americans suffer from carotid artery disease. According to the American Heart Association, each year 700,000 people suffer strokes from carotid artery disease. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and the number one cause of adult disability.
Dr. Mahmud is a member of the UCSD Cardiovascular Center and Director of UCSD Interventional Cardiovascular Medicine. The mission of the UCSD Cardiovascular Center is to provide a comprehensive approach to battle heart disease through state-of-the art technology and advanced research, translating leading edge research into patient care on a daily basis.
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