Blocked arteries that supply blood to the brain contribute to stroke, the fourth leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in the United States. In this video, Brajesh K. Lal, M.D., associate professor of vascular surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, describes the findings of a comparison he led of the two most common procedures to remove blockages in the carotid arteries in the neck. Physicians were not sure whether stents, placed minimally invasively in the carotid arteries, would prevent plaque buildup over time as well as surgery, the most commonly used procedure. Dr. Lal, who is also chief of vascular surgery at the Baltimore VA Medical Center, says the findings may challenge the current standard of care.
The study, the largest of its kind and based on data collected from study participants in the Carotid Revascularization Endarterectomy versus Stenting Trial (CREST), found that there was no difference between surgery and stenting. After two years of follow-up, re-blockage rates were identical, about six percent, whether surgery or stenting.