Porter Health System was recently selected to participate in a clinical
study to investigate the use of carotid stents in high surgical-risk
patients. Porter hospital was selected by The Center for Medicare and
Medicaid (CMS) and Abbott Vascular as a site for the CHOICE program. It is
one of only two hospitals in Northwest Indiana approved for the study.
Interventional Cardiologist Sandeep Sehgal, MD, said to gain approval to be
one of the study sites was a painstaking process and that he and Dr. Keith
Atassi worked closely with CMS and Abbott to bring the study to Porter.
“I think being selected says a great deal about Porter’s commitment to
excellence and to the quality of care we offer our patients,” Sehgal said.
One of the goals of the study is to gather data about the benefits of
performing carotid artery stenting in patients who are at high risk for
stroke and are not having symptoms, yet are considered high risk for
undergoing carotid endarterectomy. The latter is the surgical removal of the
inner lining of the carotid artery. The surgery is the gold standard for
treating carotid artery stenosis, which is the narrowing of the aortic valve
of the heart. However, not every partient can undergo the surgery, including
those who have had previous radiation or surgery to the head because they
cannot tolerate the anesthesia. Inserting a stent to open the narrowed
carotid artery does not require general anesthesia.
Currently, CMS only approves carotid artery stenting for high-risk patients
who have had a stroke or a transient ischemic attack. Clinical evidence
gathered through the CHOICE trial will be reviewed by CMS to see if stenting
for high-risk patients who are having no symptoms proves to be a valid
treatment method. If the results are positive, CMS may reconsider its
According to the
American Heart Association, stroke is the third leading cause of death in
the United States and the number one cause of disability in adults, and
approximately 25 percent of strokes are caused by coronary artery disease.
“Obviously, if we can successfully treat high-risk patients before they have
a stroke, it will greatly improve their chances of living a healthier life,”
said Dr. Sehgal.