February 2, 2007—The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today its proposal to extend coverage of percutaneous transluminal angioplasty to some patient groups.

Under Medicare’s current policy, patients with no symptoms of carotid artery stenosis who are at high risk for carotid endarterectomy are rarely covered for carotid artery stenting. Medicare is proposing to expand carotid artery stenting coverage to patients with greater than 80% carotid artery stenosis. The proposed changes would also limit coverage for patients 80 and above in light of new concerns regarding the safety of carotid artery stenting when performed in this population.

The proposed decision memorandum is available for comment for 30 days on the CMS Web site.

—Cat Vasko