Carotid ultrasound usefully predictive in post-stroke care

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Rapid stenting of the carotid artery can significantly reduce the risk of secondary stroke, and a new Taiwanese study shows that carotid ultrasound imaging can help predict likely functional outcomes following such stenting in ischemic stroke patients with carotid artery stenosis.

The study is running in the March edition of Medicine.

Researchers from Changhua Christian Hospital and other institutions in Taiwan reviewed the cases of 67 patients who received carotid stenting.

They recorded pre-stenting and post-stenting carotid duplex data, which is gleaned in ultrasound scans to show how well blood is flowing.

They then compared resistance index (RI) differences at various carotid system sites and used the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) to assess functional capability.

Analyzing the results, the team found that, following stenting, mRS scores improved (n = 44) or stayed the same (n = 23).

They also found that measurements of RI assessed by carotid ultrasound at four weeks post-stenting correlated with midterm functional outcomes.

The latter led them to conclude that the scanning may assist physicians in predicting the likely mRS score at 12 months following carotid artery stenting.

“In the present study, no patients exhibited deterioration in mRS score following stenting and over half of the patients (65.7 percent) had improved mRS score, with the remainder having stationary or stable scores,” the authors write in their discussion. “This provides an indication that, in this patient series, carotid artery stenting was associated with improved outcomes in a substantial proportion of patients.”

The study is available in full for free.