Carotid Artery Disease
Carotid Artery Disease
If you suspect you are having a stroke, call 911 immediately.
More than half of all strokes are caused by blockages or narrowing of the carotid arteries, key blood vessels that lie on either side of the neck.
Blockage or narrowing of the carotid arteries may be due to drug or alcohol abuse, diabetes, a family history of stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, aging and smoking. But carotid artery disease often has no symptoms and many times is not diagnosed until a person actually experiences a mini-stroke.
Why Choose Us
Our stroke program has been recognized nationally by the University HealthSystem Consortium as the best in the United States for care of ischemic stroke.
A multidisciplinary team combining the expertise of our emergency department, neurologists, carotid artery disease specialists, vascular surgeons, radiologists, nurses, rehabilitation and more works together to treat patients with stroke and underlying carotid artery disease.
- Surgery. Carotid endocardectomy removes built-up plaque inside the carotid artery. An incision is made on the side of the head with the blocked artery. The artery is opened, the plaque removed and the artery sutured back together, restoring normal blood flow to the brain.
- Minimally invasive procedures. Carotid Artery Angioplasty with Stenting (CAS) requires only a small incision in the groin. A special catheter with a tiny balloon on the tip is inserted into the carotid artery. Once the catheter is in place, the balloon is inflated to flatten the plaque and make a larger opening for improved blood flow. A stent or tiny expandable metal coil may be inserted to keep the artery from closing.
- Embolic prevention devices. Inserted during CAS, these tiny devices catch any clots or small debris that might break loose during angioplasty.
Diagnostic Tests and Procedures
Our program’s full range of diagnostic tests offer fast, non-invasive screenings to assess blood flow and pinpoint blockages, including:
- Doppler ultrasound and carotid artery duplex scans, which use sound waves to detect abnormal blood flow
- 64-slice CT scanner, advanced technology that can identify blockages within minutes
Other diagnostic tests include angiograms, in which a contrast dye is injected into a vein. Blockages appear during X-ray using a catheter threaded into the blood vessels.