Cardiology Team Adds Carotid Stents To Menu Of Services

Among the teammates participating in the first carotid artery stenting procedure on July 8 were, from left, Jeremiah Byrd, Sherry Hunter, Jessica Roberts, Carolyn Ellis, Michael Lassiter, Jenn Jones, Katie Pearce, Dr. Matt Hook, Cindy Boykin and Jeff Alexander.

SMITHFIELD – Dr. Matt Hook of NC Heart & Vascular and the team in the heart catheterization lab have added a new procedure to their growing list of services.

On July 8, Dr. Hook and the team did its first stent of a carotid artery. The procedure is significant because it gives patients at risk of stroke another option when surgery may not be best.

To get ready, the team worked diligently with UNC Health Rex to learn about current protocols and supplies. They attended several classes and updated their stroke certifications to be fully prepared to assist with the cases in the procedure room.

These before and after images, left and right, show how a stent opens a blockage in the patient’s carotid artery and restores blood flow to the brain.

In the past, the team provided diagnostic imaging with a carotid angiogram and then arranged an outpatient procedure at Rex, if needed, for carotid stenting with Dr. Hook.

In a phone interview a few weeks ago, the patient, Lin Sauls, 76, of Goldsboro, said his recovery is going well and joked that his name should go up in the hospital for being the first carotid-stent patient.

“I could have had the procedure done in Raleigh, but my wife and I don’t like to drive up there,” he added. “I trusted my doctor and I figured he could do it in Smithfield. Everything went well. Afterward, the nurses checked on me every hour to make sure everything was going good. I was well pleased.”