Contact: Daniel Murphy
Release: March 17, 2009
Moon Twp., PA (March 17, 2010) — A multi-center trial sponsored by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) released results from a major study that showed two medical procedures designed to prevent future strokes are safe and effective overall. The Heritage Valley Heart & Vascular Center, part of Heritage Valley Health System, participated in the Carotid Revascularization Endarterectomy vs. Stenting Trial (CREST) and was one of the top ten centers for enrollment nationwide.
CREST, one of the largest randomized stroke prevention trials ever, compared the efficacy of carotid artery stenting (CAS) against carotid endarterectomy (CEA). It was conducted over a nine year period and involved 2,502 participants.
CEA, is a surgical procedure used to clear blocked carotid arteries by making an incision on the neck to clear blocked blood flow and is considered the gold standard prevention treatment. CEA was compared to CAS, a newer and less invasive procedure that involves deploying a stent and expanding it in the carotid artery to widen the blocked area in conjunction with a small protection device used to capture any dislodged plaque. The overall safety and efficacy of the two procedures was largely the same with equal benefits for both men and women, and for patients who had or had not previously had a stroke.
“The CREST trial results verified that we now have two safe and effective methods to treat carotid artery disease directly, through CEA and the less invasive method CAS,” said Richard Begg, M.D., F.A.C.C., and Jasvinder Sandhu, M.D., F.A.C.C., principal investigators at Heritage Valley. “The good news is that whatever method a patient chooses, the results for all patients should be excellent.”
The Heritage Valley Heart & Vascular Center completed enrollment with 52 randomized patients which made them one of the top 10 centers in the country. The study was conducted at over 100 institutions across the United States and Canada.
One of the strengths of the study, according to investigators, is that CREST was conducted in a variety of real world settings, including large and small public and private hospitals. Physicians had to demonstrate a high degree of proficiency and safety in order to participate in the trial. Heritage Valley’s carotid stent program was developed in 2000 and is now one of the largest programs in Western Pennsylvania. The success of this program can be attributed to the multi-disciplinary team, which includes vascular surgery, cardiology, and neurology, making this center’s approach to the management of carotid artery disease unique.
Currently, Heritage Valley Heart & Vascular Center is also participating in a similar study called ACT 1 (Asymptomatic Carotid Trial). The ACT 1 study randomizes patients with asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis to either CAS or CEA in a 3:1 fashion, respectively. Enrollment in this study is over halfway complete and enrollment into this study continues. For questions regarding ACT 1, please contact the Heritage Valley Heart & Vascular Center at (724) 728-3302 or (412) 741-2700.