Carotid Artery Stent Insertion

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Carotid artery stent insertion is a surgery to widen a narrowed carotid artery. A stent is a small cylinder-shaped tube that widens a blood vessel. The carotid artery is a large blood vessel found in your neck that carries blood and oxygen to your brain.


CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

  • You may get an infection after a carotid artery stent insertion. During the surgery, your carotid artery may get punctured and may cause bleeding. Plaque may break off and block arteries in your brain. This can become life-threatening. You may get a blood clot in your leg or arm. The clot may travel to your heart or brain and cause life-threatening problems, such as a heart attack or stroke.

  • Even after your surgery, your carotid artery may narrow again. If left untreated, your dizziness, weakness, loss of sensation, and problems in thinking may continue and get worse. You may have trouble going back to your usual activities.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Before your surgery:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

  • Antiplatelets help prevent blood clots. This medicine makes it more likely for you to bleed or bruise.

  • Blood thinners help prevent blood clots. Blood thinners may be given before, during, and after a surgery or procedure. Blood thinners make it more likely for you to bleed or bruise.

  • Local anesthesia: This is medicine is used to numb the area and control pain. You may still feel pressure or pushing during the surgery.

  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

  • Pre-op care: You may be given medicine right before your procedure or surgery. This medicine may make you feel relaxed and sleepy. You are taken on a stretcher to the room where your procedure or surgery will be done, and then you are moved to a table or bed.

  • Monitoring:

    • Heart monitor: This is also called an ECG or EKG. Sticky pads placed on your skin record your heart's electrical activity.

    • Pulse oximeter: A pulse oximeter is a device that measures the amount of oxygen in your blood. A cord with a clip or sticky strip is placed on your finger, ear, or toe. The other end of the cord is hooked to a machine. Never turn the pulse oximeter or alarm off. An alarm will sound if your oxygen level is low or cannot be read.

During your surgery:

During the surgery, your caregiver will insert a catheter (thin flexible tube) into a large blood vessel in your arm or groin. The catheter will be slowly guided towards your carotid artery with the help of x-rays and contrast dye. When the catheter reaches the narrowed area, your caregiver may inset a device that looks like a small balloon. He will inflate the balloon to widen the carotid artery. The stent will then be inserted through the same catheter and placed at the newly widened area. After the catheter is removed, your caregiver will apply pressure over the area where the catheter was inserted. He will cover your incision wound with bandages to keep the area dry and prevent infection.

After your surgery:

You may be taken to a recovery room to rest. Caregivers will watch you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. When caregivers see that you are okay, you will be taken back to your hospital room. Caregivers may place a small sandbag over the bandage to put pressure on the incision and prevent bleeding. The sandbag may stay in place for a few hours. You may need to put your fingers over the incision area if you have to cough or sneeze. A caregiver may remove the bandages to check your incision wound.

  • Medicines:

    • Antiplatelets help prevent blood clots. This medicine makes it more likely for you to bleed or bruise.

    • Blood pressure medicine: This medicine may be given to increase or decrease your blood pressure and heart rate. This may help protect your heart and other organs.

    • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.

    • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.

  • Duplex ultrasound: This uses sound waves to show pictures on a monitor. A duplex ultrasound is used to see the blood flow inside your carotid artery. Caregivers look for areas with slow blood flow, which may mean there is another blockage.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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