Aside from the carotid arteries, there are other arteries in the head and neck that supply blood to your arms and brain. These are called brachiocephalic arteries. Surgical or interventional procedures may be needed to open blockages in these arteries.
Why is it performed?
Blockages and narrowings may develop as a result of atherosclerosis in these arteries. These blockages can produce symptoms such as dizziness, unsteadiness, loss of consciousness, numbness or weakness in the arms or legs. Major surgery to correct these narrowings may be avoided with balloon angioplasty and stenting techniques to open these blockages. Relief of these blockages will restore blood flow and may improve symptoms.
What is experienced?
This procedure is performed in the catheterization lab. Patients are admitted on the morning of the procedure. Preparation before the patient is brought to the cath lab includes clinical examination, lab tests and an EKG. During the procedure, the interventional cardiologist will insert a catheter in the groin or elbow area under local anesthesia. The patient may feel some pressure at the catheter site, but no pain. The artery is first opened with an inflated balloon-tipped catheter (angioplasty procedure), followed by a stent insertion to prop the artery open. Blood flow is thereby restored and enhanced.
Post-procedure care is similar to those undergoing coronary stenting.