HHMEB Performs First Carotid Artery Stenting

BEDFORD, Texas – Alvin Wirt of Bedford celebrated his 72nd birthday in July with a clean bill of health. Thanks to a new procedure called carotid artery stenting, Mr. Wirt is free of the pain he'd been experiencing due to a blocked carotid artery, and was up and around the very next day after spending only one night in the hospital. Harris Methodist H•E•B Hospital is the only hospital in Northeast Tarrant County, and one of only 100 sites nationwide, to participate in a clinical study of carotid artery stenting, a special procedure designed to reduce the risk of stroke when opening blocked arteries in the carotid artery in the neck.

“The stenting hasn't affected me in any way or been a hindrance,” Mr. Wirt said. “It has only helped me – I had so much trouble before. I'd recommend it for anyone.”

Because of Mr. Wirt's history of strokes, his physician, David Eisen, M.D., a cardiologist on the medical staff of Harris Methodist H•E•B Hospital, recommended the stenting procedure. “The carotid artery is the main blood vessel leading to the brain,” said Dr. Eisen. “For patients with a high risk of stroke or whose carotid artery is over 70 percent blocked, this new stenting procedure is an option, and compares favorably with the traditional surgical approach.”

Patients who have blockage in their carotid artery must be treated, or the blockage may interfere with blood circulation to the brain or break off and cause a stroke. “Carotid artery stenting is the next generation of treatment for this condition,” Dr. Eisen said. “It has been shown to have the same level of success as the surgical option, and it's much easier on patients.”

During carotid artery stenting, a catheter is threaded through a blood vessel in the groin to the blocked carotid artery. An umbrella-like filter is then deployed through the catheter to catch any plaque that might break off during the procedure, preventing it from traveling to the brain where it could cause a stroke. Next, the stent, a small mesh tube, is inserted through the catheter, to open the blocked portion of the vessel. During the entire procedure, patients have only a local anesthetic, as opposed to the general anesthesia necessary during the traditional procedure.

“Carotid artery stenting is another alternative for patients with cardiac disease,” said Iyad Rashdan, MD, a cardiologist on the medical staff of Harris Methodist H•E•B Hospital, who was one of the first to perform the new procedure. “It is much less invasive than the surgical option, with the same results. Patients come in the morning of their procedure, walk that same evening and go home the next day. Plus, since patients are alert during the process, we are able to constantly monitor their neurological function.”

The traditional surgical procedure requires surgeons to perform a bypass around the blocked portion while patients are under full anesthesia, which makes it more difficult to gauge their neurological functions. Patients with mild to moderate blockage are often treated with medication.

About Harris Methodist H•E•B Hospital
Harris Methodist H•E•B Hospital, a member of Texas Health Resources, is a 284-bed, acute-care facility serving Northeast Tarrant County since 1973. Services provided at Harris Methodist H•E•B Hospital include outpatient surgery, women's services, a level III neonatal intensive care unit, a dedicated oncology care unit, neurosurgery, cardiovascular surgery and a dedicated cardiac care unit, cardiac rehabilitation, physical medicine and rehabilitation, occupational health services, psychiatric and addiction treatment and pediatrics.