About the Procedure



Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute-Southwest  
Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute-Southwest

Houston, Texas – Clogging of arteries that carry blood to the brain contributes to more than a quarter of all strokes. An innovative, minimally invasive procedure for restoring adequate blood flow will be featured in a live, surgical webcast on March 8 at 5:30 p.m. The surgery will be performed at Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute-Southwest in Houston.

Cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon Luis Echeverri, M.D., will perform a carotid stenting, a procedure which can help prevent life-threatening strokes.

Dr. Echeverri  
Dr. Echeverri

The carotid arteries carry blood from the aorta to the base of the brain. Buildup of cholesterol, calcium and fibrous tissue can form plaque inside these vessels, narrowing them and restricting the flow of blood.

“Strokes can occur when small blood clots form in the carotid arteries, or when pieces of plaque break away. Either can travel into the brain and block the blood supply to parts of it,” Dr. Echeverri explained. “In other cases, larger clots formed elsewhere in the body reach the narrowed carotid arteries, obstructing blood flow.”

Traditionally, physicians treat severe carotid artery disease by making an incision in the neck and surgically removing plaque and diseased portions of the artery. A newer approach, carotid stenting, enables treatment from inside the vessels.

Dr. Echeverri  
Dr. Echeverri

Dr. Echeverri and his team will make a small incision in the patient’s groin and insert a tube, or catheter, into the large femoral artery. He will thread the tube through the body’s vascular system to the carotid artery, where an inflated balloon will compress the plaque and widen the arterial passage. He will then position a wire, mesh-covered stent to keep the artery open. Before the stent placement, a small filter will be temporarily placed in the carotid artery to keep related bits of floating plaque from traveling to the brain.

“Stenting is an option for many patients whose carotid arteries are at least 80 percent blocked and who might otherwise be candidates for surgery,” Dr. Echeverri said. “It can be particularly beneficial for high-risk surgical candidates, such as those with kidney failure, high blood pressure or lung disease.” Patients with twisted or hardened carotid arteries would not be good candidates for stenting.

Serving as moderators during the live webcast will be Dr. Echeverri’s associate, cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon Robert Baldwin, M.D., and neurologist William Fleming, M.D. The moderators will receive e-mailed questions from viewers worldwide and relay them to Dr. Echeverri, who will answer selected, appropriate inquiries during the surgery. The webcast will be available for online viewing for at least one year. Dr. Echeverri and his team will continue to receive and answer e-mailed questions for several weeks following the procedure.

The program is the seventh in a series sponsored by Memorial Hermann, giving medical professionals and consumers the opportunity to view innovative surgical procedures live on the Internet from anywhere in the world. Previous Memorial Hermann webcasts have been selected by the prestigious National Library of Medicine for inclusion on its Medline Plus Web site.

Call 713-776-3402 for more information about carotid stenting.

When completed late this year, the Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute-Southwest will be Houston’s first freestanding heart hospital. The $65-million, seven-story, 200,000-square-foot facility will include six cardiac catheterization and electrophysiology labs, four cardiovascular operating rooms and 45 patient beds with the capacity to expand.

About the Memorial Hermann System

An integrated health system, Memorial Hermann is a vital healthcare resource known for world-class clinical expertise, patient-centered care, leading edge technology, and innovation. The system, with its exceptional medical staff and 17,000 employee partners, serves southeast Texas and the greater Houston community. Memorial Hermann’s 12 acute-care hospitals include a university-affiliated teaching hospital in the Texas Medical Center, seven suburban hospitals, a children’s hospital and three long-term specialty care hospitals. The system also operates numerous outpatient imaging facilities, a Wellness Center, a chemical dependency treatment center, a home health agency, a retirement community and a nursing home. To learn more, visit www.memorialhermann.org or call 713-222-CARE.


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