Crouse Hospital vascular surgeons Robert Schwartz, MD, and Scott Surowiec, MD, have introduced new technology designed to minimize the risk of loose plaque reaching the brain during critical stages of carotid artery stenting (CAS), greatly expanding treatment options for patients with carotid artery disease.
Carotid artery disease occurs when the main arteries in the neck that bring blood to the brain become narrowed or blocked by plaque. When the carotid arteries are obstructed, people are at increased risk for a stroke, the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
One of the major challenges associated with CAS is the risk of peri-procedural (before the procedure) embolic events that could cause a stroke. This occurs when pieces of plaque that have settled in the carotid artery become dislodged and travel to the brain. The Gore Flow Reversal System is a unique neuro-protection technology that reverses the flow of blood at the treatment site prior to crossing the lesion. Flow reversal is achieved by selectively stopping carotid artery blood flow via a small shunt inserted from the thigh into the carotid artery, which is located in the neck. This temporarily redirects blood from the area while the artery is being repaired. Small and larger bits of plaque are simultaneously directed away from the brain during the procedure and harmlessly absorbed into the body.
Carotid artery stenting (CAS) is a newer treatment option that is less invasive than the more traditional carotid endarterectomy, which involves an incision made in the neck to remove the obstruction.
"This new system is not only a significant advancement in neuro-protection, it is an important step forward that may help establish carotid stenting as the therapy of choice for a greater number of patients," says Dr. Schwartz, who, along with partner Dr. Surowiec, are the only two surgeons in Syracuse using the new stenting technology, which received FDA approval earlier this year.