Int J Angiol 2011 Mar;20(1):25-32
Subclinical microemboli documented on diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI) are common following carotid artery stenting (CAS) procedures despite absence of neurological symptoms. This study was to evaluate risk factors predictive of microemboli in patients undergoing protected CAS with a distal embolic protection device. All CAS patients who received pre- and postprocedural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) evaluations for carotid interventions at a single academic institution from July 2004 to December 2008 were examined. Microemboli were defined by new hyperintensities on postoperative DWI with corresponding decreased diffusion. Risk factors including patient demographics, medical comorbidities, clinical symptoms, lesion morphologies, and perioperative information were examined, and logistic regression analyses were utilized to determine predictors of CAS-related microemboli. A total of 204 patients underwent carotid interventions (76 CAS and 128 carotid endarterectomies) during the study period; 167 of them, including 67 CAS patients, received both preoperative and postoperative MRIs. Among those who underwent protected CAS, the incidence of microemboli was 46.3% despite a relative low incidence of associated neurological symptoms (2.9%). Univariate and multivariate regression analyses showed that date of procedure (odds ratio [OR] 30.6 and p = 0.019) and preoperative transient ischemic attack symptoms (OR 9.24 and p = 0.009) were independent predictors of developing postoperative changes on DWI in the ipsilateral hemisphere, and age >76 years was predictive of having new lesions on DWI in the contralateral hemisphere (OR 6.11 and p = 0.026). Our study underscores that certain risk factors are significantly associated with CAS-related microemboli and that physician experience and patient selection are essential in improving outcome of CAS procedures.