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Carotid Artery Stent Insertion
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- Carotid (kah-ROT-id) artery (AHR-ter-e) stent insertion (in-SER-shun) is a procedure to widen a narrowed carotid artery by inserting a stent inside it. A stent is a small cylinder-shaped tube that widens a blood vessel and prevents it from becoming narrow again. The carotid artery is a large blood vessel found in your neck that carries blood and oxygen to your brain. The carotid artery may become narrow because plaque is clogging it up. Plaque is made up of fat and fibers, and causes narrowing when it is present in the walls inside of the artery. You may have a lot of plaque if it runs in your family or if you eat lots of fatty foods. When the carotid artery is narrowed or completely blocked, your brain may not get enough blood and oxygen. This may cause dizziness, weakness, loss of sensation, problems in thinking, and even loss of consciousness.
- During the procedure, a catheter (thin flexible tube) is inserted in a large blood vessel. The large blood vessel may be located in your arm or groin. The groin is the area where your abdomen (stomach) meets your upper leg. An x-ray may be used to carefully guide the catheter. When the catheter reaches the narrowed area, your caregiver will inflate (fill up) the small balloon at its tip. This will widen the area before placing a stent through the same catheter. With carotid artery stent insertion, normal blood flow may return to your brain and your symptoms may be relieved.
Take your medicine as directed:
Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
- Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.
- Aspirin to stop blood clots: Aspirin helps thin the blood to keep blood clots from forming. If you are told to take aspirin, do not take acetaminophen or ibuprofen instead. Do not take more or less aspirin than directed. This medicine makes it more likely for you to bleed or bruise.
- Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
- Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
- Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
- Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.
Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:
For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- You have a fever.
- You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
- Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
- You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition, procedure, or medicine.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- You have trouble breathing or chest pain all of a sudden.
- There is bleeding, increased bruising, or swelling where the catheter was inserted.
- You suddenly have severe dizziness, weakness, loss of feeling, confusion, or loss of consciousness.
- You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.
- You have new and sudden chest pain. You may have more pain when you take deep breaths or cough. You may cough up blood.
- Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
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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.