Objective: To investigate ultrasonographic character of carotid plaques, and incidences of brain embolism in carotid angioplasty and stenting (CAS) and carotid endarterectomy (CEA).
Materials and Methods: CEA (22/25 symptomatic lesions) and CAS (17/20 symptomatic lesions) between 2007 and 2010. Embolic protection devices (15 occlusion and 5 filtering devices) were used during CAS. Carotid plaques were classified into three categories (I: calcificated, II: intermediately echogenic, III: echolucent). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to investigate brain emboli.
Results: Ultrasonographic character of the plaques in CEA cases (I: 4%, II: 88%, III: 8%) was different from the one in CAS cases (I: 10%, II: 90%, III: 0%). The incidence of brain embolism in the CAS cases was 52.6 % while 0% in the CEA cases (p = 0.00037). CAS had high incidences of brain embolism in any plaques (I: 100%, II: 43.8%). In the most recent 9 procedures of CAS using occlusion devices, averaged number of embolic lesion was 1.0 (0 post operative day; 0 POD). The number increased as 1.4 (1 POD) and 2.0 (7 POD).
Conclusion: CEA should be currently the first choice for most patients with a high-grade and symptomatic carotid artery stenosis.