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Stents And Surgery Are Equally Effective Stroke Treatments For Those With Narrowed Carotid Arteries

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Americans suffer almost 800,000 strokes each year, of which about ten percent are caused by carotid narrowing. For those with narrowed carotid arteries, stents and surgery are equally effective when it comes to reducing the risk of suffering a stroke, according to new research presented earlier this week at the American Heart Association’s International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles, reports.

The ten-year-long, federal government-funded CREST clinical trial has established that stenting and surgery are equally good options when dealing with patients suffering from a narrowed carotid artery. The findings mean that doctors are now free to use their discretion according to patient medical history and preference when deciding which of the two methods to prescribe, without the need to worry if one is more effective than the other. Patients who received stents had fewer heart attacks, while those who underwent surgery suffered fewer strokes, reports United Press International. Additionally, the arteries of both groups of patients were found to have re-narrowed at the same rate of roughly one percent each year.

The conclusions of the trial were presented in Los Angeles this week and published online by the New England Journal of Medicine. They confirm preliminary findings originally reported back in 2010.

Dr Thomas Brott, professor of neurosciences at the Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida, said that the low rate showing that the two treatments are equally safe and effective will be reassuring to patients and their families:

This very low rate shows these two procedures are safe and are also very durable in preventing stroke…Because Medicare-age patients with carotid narrowing are living longer, the durability of stenting and surgery will be reassuring to the patients and their families.

The two studies were coordinated by the Mayo Clinic, Rutgers University and the University of Alabama Birmingham and took place at 117 medical facilities across the United States and Canada. Nearly 129,000 Americans are killed each year by strokes.

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