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Carotid Artery Stent Procedure Makes You Smarter - Minimal Invasive Surgery Improves Memory and Mental Skills and Reduce Stroke Risk

April 6th 2006

Carotid Artery Stent Procedure Makes You Smarter - Minimal Invasive Surgery Improves Memory and Mental Skills and Reduce Stroke Risk

Stent

A stenting procedure in patients to reduce the risk of stroke has had the un-expected side-effect of making the patient smarter.  Doctors from Toronto Canada found that after performing a minimally invasive neck procedure, their patients showed gains in memory and mental skills. 

According to an ABC News report, the procedure, called carotid stenting (or carotid endarterectomy), is an alternative to painful neck surgery.  Carotid stenting relies on tiny devices maneuvered through the circulatory system to the carotid arteries in the neck.  The doctors then inflate a balloon to push the plaque into the vessel wall and then implant a metal-mesh scaffold, or stent, to keep the clogged artery open.  

Evidently the increased blood flow improved brain function in some of their patients. According to Dr. Rodney Raabe, an interventional radiologist and who was the study's lead researcher, “People who have high-grade narrowing of the arteries will benefit best.  Particularly patients who have started to have memory problems should go to doctors to get an ultrasound to see if they have a blockage."

 

The stents are used to treat atherosclerosis in the carotid artery.  Plaque buildup can cause hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).  As the plaque builds up, the arteries narrow and stiffen, until eventually pieces of plaque may break away and block the arteries in the brain.  The buildup of the plaque is called carotid artery disease. If a clot blocks a tiny artery in the brain, it may cause a transient ischemic attack, also known as a mini-stroke.

The procedure is considered experimental, according to the Society for Vascular Surgery.   You may be a candidate for the procedure if you are considered high risk for carotid endarterectomy, if your carotid artery is significantly narrowed (usually by more than 60 percent), and if you have had symptoms of a mini stroke or stroke.  You may also be a candidate if you have no symptoms, but your carotid artery is severely narrowed (more than 80%) and you are considered high risk for carotid endarterectomy. You may also be a candidate if you have developed a new narrowing after previous carotid surgery.

 

There are risks from the procedure.  Raabe warns that there is a low risk of stroke from the procedure itself, and minor risk of bleeding at the entry site.  The doctors have created an umbrella device that helps catch the clots. 

Strokes are a significant problem in the United States.  They occur every 45 seconds, and every three minutes someone dies from a stroke.  Stroke is the leading cause of serious long-term disability.  Twenty-two percent of men and 25 percent of women who have strokes die within a year and 15 percent to 30 percent of stroke victims are left disabled.

Raabe said the findings are astounding. Patients not only had a lower risk of suffering a stroke, but they also had improved cognitive function, better memory and better reasoning ability.  Some patients were able to go home after the procedure, while other patients who felt incapacitated before the procedure, felt well enough to go back to work. Another amazing finding was that some patients said that colors appeared brighter after the surgery.   

 

"In the past, we thought the only benefit is that they would only have a decrease of stroke [risk]," Raabe said. "This finding about the improvement in mental ability was a total surprise."

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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication

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Keywords and misspellings: stroak strok prevention prevension treetment treatment


Important:  The material on Best Syndication is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. You should promptly seek professional medical care if you have any concern about your health, and you should always consult your physician before starting a fitness program.
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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                   Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:50 PM