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Local Cardiologist and Memorial Hospital Conduct Region’s First Carotid Stenting - 8/9/2005

In July 2005, Cardiologist Dr. Chad Schooley and Memorial Hospital became the first cardiovascular team in El Paso County to offer a technologically advanced procedure known as Carotid Artery Stenting (CAS). CAS is a minimally invasive treatment for surgically at-risk patients diagnosed with carotid artery disease—a buildup of fat and cholesterol deposits in the carotid arteries, which narrows the artery and decreases blood flow to the brain. Left untreated, this condition can cause a stroke resulting in paralysis, memory loss, speech and vision impairment, and possibly death.

Carotid Artery Stenting uses a combination of balloon angioplasty and a stent implant to unblock and reopen the carotid artery—a major supplier of blood to the brain. A catheter is inserted through a small incision in the groin into the femoral artery. Using x-ray, the catheter is navigated to the site of the blockage through a network of blood vessels. An embolic protection system with plaque filter is delivered to the artery and opened against the artery walls. A balloon catheter is then deployed and expanded, followed by another catheter used to deliver a pin-sized metal mesh tubing/stent to the blockage site. Residual plaque is captured by the embolic protection system, collapsed and removed. The procedure takes approximately 60-90 minutes.

Employed by Parkside Cardiology, Dr. Schooley established the Carotid Artery Stenting program at Memorial Hospital and is currently the only CAS-certified physician in the region. “CAS is the culmination of years of research and clinical studies across multiple disciplines, and only recently gained approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),” Schooley says. “The CAS procedure is a safe and proven option for patients with severe arterial blockage, who are higher risk for the standard surgical procedure known as an endarterectomy. Hospital recovery time is typically just 24 hours, and many patients can resume their normal activities within a week.”

Stroke Facts:

  • Strokes occur when a clot or rupture blocks blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the brain—causing blood and oxygen deprivation.
  • Risk factors include high blood pressure, carotid artery disease, diabetes, smoking or tobacco use, heart disease and high cholesterol.
  • Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States, with an incidence rate of over 500,000 cases annually.
  • In 2004, the estimated costs for treating strokes in the U.S. was $53.6 billion.

For more information on strokes, access www.strokeassociation.org.

Media inquiries please contact Memorial Hospital Public Relations at (719) 365-5235.