Purcell, CMH Beats National Average in Carotid Artery Stenting Outcomes

Dr. Peter N. Purcell

After more than two years and well over 100 carotid artery stent cases, renowned Endovascular Surgeon Dr. Peter Purcell and the endovascular team at Caldwell Memorial Hospital rate better than the published national average in major complication rates for carotid stenting. The rate at CMH is less than 1%, which compares favorably to published national rates of 3-7%.

This is excellent news for patients who require carotid artery stenting. Caldwell Memorial is in fact one of only 23 hospitals in North Carolina to offer the advanced procedure. According to Dr. Purcell, "Our carotid stent program has been very successful at offering a service to patients of this region that is not available in nearby facilities."

Carotid artery stenting is an important treatment option for atherosclerotic carotid artery disease, one of the main causes of stroke. This is particularly important since North Carolina is in the "stroke belt," a region of the U.S. with a higher than average death rate from stroke.

During carotid artery stenting, an endovascular surgeon uses a stent (a very small tube of latticed metal) to open partially blocked carotid arteries. Because of surgical advancements, the procedure can be done from within the blood vessels using a guide catheter and local anesthesia. Prior to the development of endovascular surgical techniques, surgery for atherosclerotic carotid artery disease required general anesthesia and an incision in the patient's neck.

"Carotid artery stenting is possible because of a number of surgical advancements including catheterization and x-ray visualization," said Dr. Purcell. "Because we are able to open the partially blocked arteries from within the blood vessels themselves, the typical hospital stay has been reduced to 24 hours and many patients can resume regular activities within 72 hours."

Prior to the CMS approval of Caldwell Memorial Hospital as a Carotid Arterial Stenting Facility, area patients were referred to other hospitals in cities such as Asheville, Charlotte, or Winston-Salem for the procedure. Now area patients and their physicians have an approved local option with proven exceptional results for their care.

Peter N. Purcell, MD, FACS, FACPh is the board certified general and endovascular surgeon at Horizon Surgical Specialists and a member of the Active Medical Staff of Caldwell Memorial. He received his Medical Degree from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC and completed his internship and residency at University of Cincinnati. Dr. Purcell furthered his general surgery education with an externship at St. Mary's Hospital and Medical School in London and a general vascular surgery Fellowship at The Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

Physicians wishing to refer patients to Dr. Purcell may do so by calling Horizon Surgical Specialists at 828-758-5501 or Caldwell Memorial Hospital at 828-757-5100 for after-hours or emergency referrals. Referrals receive prompt evaluation with information sent to the referring physicians. Horizon Surgical Specialists is not a division of Caldwell Memorial Hospital.