Take care of your health. Waist up of a sick aged man sitting at the table and suffering from a headache at home

Carotid Artery Disease

The carotid arteries are the main blood vessels that supply blood to the brain. Carotid artery disease happens when plaque builds up and narrows the arteries which can cause a blockage and lead to a TIA (mini stroke) or a full scale stroke.  If you are over age 50, or have a family history of carotid artery disease, your primary care provider will likely listen to your artery for any abnormal sounds that could indicate a blockage.

 

There are few symptoms for carotid artery disease; however you should seek immediate emergency care if you experience any of the following: 
  • New or intense headaches
  • Blindness in any part of the eye
  • Slurred speech
  • Weakness or loss of control of one side of your body

 

Risk factors for carotid artery disease include:
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Family history
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Lack of exercise
  • Age 50+


There are a variety of non-invasive options available to screen for carotid artery disease. Treatment includes lifestyle changes, medications, and surgical options.  Our skilled team will work with you to determine the right treatment for symptoms, condition, and lifestyle.

Diagnosis, treatment and technologies

lifestyle adjustments and medications

Lifestyle changes may be the first plan of treatment if you have carotid artery disease. The goal of these adjustments is to lower your risk of stroke. Increasing your physical activity, eating a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet, losing weight, and quitting smoking can all improve your health and lower your stroke risk. Medicines that can help this goal include: blood pressure medications, statins to lower cholesterol, and blood thinners or aspirin to prevent blood clots.

interventional and surgical treatments

A carotid endarterectomy may be appropriate for you if you have already had a TIA or stroke as a result of a carotid artery blockage. This is a procedure to remove the plaque causing the blockage. Carotid stenting can also be performed to prop open a narrowed artery with a stent.

TCAR Procedure

Trans Carotid Artery Revascularization (TCAR) is a clinically proven, minimally invasive, safe approach for patients with carotid artery disease who are at high risk for traditional open surgery. The TCAR procedure is unique in that blood flow is temporarily reversed during the procedure so that any small bits of plaque that may break off are diverted away from the brain, preventing a stroke from happening. A stent is then placed inside the artery to stabilize the plaque, minimizing the risk of a future stroke. Benefits of TCAR include:

  • Reduced risk of stroke
  • Minimally invasive
  • Smaller incision
  • Shorter procedure time
  • Shorter hospital and recovery time         

MEET OUR

Vascular team

Our vascular physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and support staff bring extensive expertise and skill to each procedure, and take a personal interest in your well-being.

New Treatment for Carotid Artery Disease

Minimally Invasive Procedure Prevents Stroke

For CMC patient, Gerald, being the first patient to try a new procedure was an easy decision. "After everything I’ve been through with the cancer, I knew I didn’t want to have a stroke too! I’ve got two great doctors and I’ve lived an extra ten years because of them. And I’ll probably live 10 more now. I feel great.”
 

Read Gerald's story

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