Issuing its final determination in expanding coverage of angioplasty of the carotid artery using a stent, the CMS said it will reimburse for Medicare patients who are participating in a clinical trial ordered by the Food and Drug Administration. The newly approved procedure -- percutaneous transluminal angioplasty of the carotid artery with stenting -- is designed as an alternative to more invasive surgery to prevent strokes in high-risk patients. CMS officials said allowing carotid stenting in the context of the FDA study will assure patient protection while offering Medicare patients the opportunity to benefit from the new technology. The study will offer more information to help doctors determine the best candidates for the procedure and will help develop the best clinical practices to follow, CMS officials said. The CMS also is considering a separate request for broader coverage of carotid artery stenting that should be completed by early 2005. -- by Cinda Becker
CMS to reimburse for carotid stenting studies
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