Carotid angioplasty. Detection of embolic signals during and after the procedure.
Carotid angioplasty may offer an effective treatment for carotid stenosis, but there has been concern about the incidence and clinical consequences of distal embolization. Transcranial Doppler monitoring in carotid endarterectomy has demonstrated embolic signals during this procedure. We used this technique in patients undergoing carotid angioplasty.
Transcranial Doppler ultrasound was used to monitor for embolic signals in the ipsilateral middle cerebral artery before and during 10 technically successful carotid angioplasties and at various standardized times in the following month.
In the month before angioplasty asymptomatic embolic signals were detected in 3 of 10 patients. During angioplasty multiple embolic signals were detected immediately after balloon inflation in 9 of 10 subjects. A minor ipsilateral cerebral ischemic event occurred in 1 of these 9, but the other 8 were asymptomatic. Embolic signals were common immediately after the procedure and intra-arterial femoral catheter removal (8 of 10 subjects) but thereafter became less frequent and were present in 1 of 5 at 4 hours, 2 of 10 at 48 hours, 1 of 6 at 7 days, and 1 of 10 at 1 month.
Embolization at the time of carotid angioplasty is very common but usually asymptomatic; monitoring by means of Doppler ultrasound will allow the effectiveness of measures to reduce this embolization to be studied. Late embolization occurs in a minority of patients and may account for the small but significant risk of delayed stroke. Doppler monitoring may allow identification of patients at risk and assessment of the effectiveness of prophylactic therapy.
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association