Knoxville (WVLT) - Monday a patient in Knoxville became the first to undergo a new stenting procedure to prevent a stroke.
This new carotid artery stenting performed at Baptist Hospital reduces the risk of stroke to less than one percent.
"Basically, it started from cancer. The radiation caused the veins to collapse, so I had to have a stent put in," 41-year-old Dinah Coffman-Fullen is awake and under no sedation as doctors perform life-saving stenting on the carotid artery that leads to her brain.
Interventional Cardiologist Doctor Malcom Foster performed the first "choice" stenting at Baptist Hospital.
"So, we're the first site in the nation, first site in the United States to have a patient treated in the Choice registry," says Dr. Foster.
Think of it like this, doctors have used balloon stenting to clear blockages in the arteries surrounding the heart for decades.
Now, doctors here are applying that same concept to the carotid artery.
"These are larger stents, these are larger blood vessels in the neck, the carotid arteries. And they also, the stent springs open because you need to move your head," says Dr. Foster.
The entire procedure takes about 45 minutes.
Baptist allowed our cameras in as Doctor Foster performed the procedure and trained other doctors how.
First, he places a filter, then deploys the stent, it balloons inside the artery.
Then he removes the filter and balloon, and Dinah is left only with the life-saving stent in her left carotid artery.
"Don't want to go to sleep and not wake up, so yeah, it's a relief," says Dinah.
Dinah will spend the night in the hospital, and be released in the morning.
There are only certain people who are considered good candidates for this new stenting procedure. Those are people at high risk for stroke, such as people over 80, who have coronary artery disease or have experienced heart failure.
We're told the procedure is virtually painless, and the risk is minimal.