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Stents and surgery for blocked neck arteries are neck-and-neck as lasting stroke prevention
Date:2/1/2012

Baltimore, MD -- A new comparison of the procedures to help prevent strokes by removing or relieving blockages in the arteries of the neck concludes they are equally effective at halting repeat blockage. Two years after treatment with either surgery or a minimally invasive treatment using wire coils called stents, the re-blockage rate remained the same, approximately six percent. Results of the analysis were detailed in a presentation at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference today in New Orleans.

"This was a huge surprise," says Brajesh K. Lal, M.D., lead author and associate professor of vascular surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. The carotid arteries on each side of the neck supply blood to the brain. Fatty material called plaque can partially or totally block blood flow through the arteries to the brain, which can result in a stroke. Carotid artery blockages cause about 10 percent of strokes. Surgery or stenting preserves blood flow and lowers the risk of stroke.

"For years, surgery has been the standard of care to unclog the carotids," says Dr. Lal, who is also chief of vascular surgery at the Baltimore VA Medical Center. "Physicians have been reluctant to utilize carotid artery stenting because of lessons learned from stenting in the coronary arteries, which lead to the heart. Coronary blockages recurred 20-30 percent of the time after one-to-three years. The results of our study may help physicians and patients weigh the risks and benefits of these two carotid procedures along with medical management to come up with the best treatment options."

"National research projects such as this confirm the value of efforts to determine what new tools and treatments will be of true benefit to patients," says E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., vice president for Medical Affairs at the University of Maryland and dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "In
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Contact: BILL SEILER
bseiler@umm.edu
410-328-8919
University of Maryland Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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