Carotid artery stenting now offered at WMHS

Submitted photo
Dr. John Pappas, center, and members of the Interventional Radiology team with two of the first carotid artery stenting patients, John Rafferty, on Pappas’ left, and Dick Meyers, on Pappas’ right.

A new procedure at Western Maryland Health System is allowing patients with carotid artery disease to stay close.

Under the direction of Dr. John Pappas, the interventional radiology department at WMHS is now offering carotid artery stenting, a procedure that opens the carotid arteries to restore blood flow to the brain, the health system said in a news release.

Carotid arteries are on each side of the neck and are the main arteries supplying blood to the brain. Like arteries in the heart, the carotid arteries can become clogged, which can reduce or block blood flow to the brain.

Stenting helps keep the artery open and decreases the chance of it narrowing or closing, the release said. Stenting may be used when traditional surgery isn’t possible or is too risky.

“In the old days, almost all patients with a significant narrowing of the carotid artery had an incision made in their necks and the plaque was taken out,” Pappas said in the release. “As technology has changed over the last 10-15 years, small catheters and stents have been developed that we can thread through the artery in the groin or arm up to the carotid artery in the neck, which would preclude that patient from having an open endaretectory or a relatively large incision in the neck.”

The stenting procedure is another tool in a nationwide battle against carotid artery disease.

The carotid stenting procedure usually requires only a a two-millimeter incision  and a one-night stay in the hospital.