Stents safe for stroke prevention, study says

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Placing a stent to keep a neck artery open is as effective as invasive neck surgery for long-term prevention of strokes, according to results from a European trial.

Stenting involves a small mesh cylinder used to keep the artery open. This is inserted under local anesthetic through the groin and fed up to the neck with a thin wire. The procedure is less invasive than an endartectomy.

The study followed 1,713 patients with carotid artery disease, of whom 855 were assigned to stenting and 858 to endarterectomy, for up to 10 years.

“We have now shown that stenting is just as good as endarterectomy for preventing fatal and disabling strokes,” said study leader Professor Martin Brown, UCL Institute of Neurology. We have also shown that the risk of stroke during the procedure is no higher for stenting than for endarterectomy in younger patients.”

Researchers at University College London, Basel University, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the University Medical Center Utrecht, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Newcastle University had their results published in The Lancet.