Carotid Artery Disease
A buildup of plaque in the carotid arteries (located in your neck) can restrict blood flow to your brain. This buildup can also cause blood clots to form. Small pieces of blood clot or plaque may break off and travel to and block smaller arteries in the brain. This cuts off blood flow to a portion of the brain, causing a stroke.
Call 911 if you have any of the following symptoms of a stroke:
- Weakness or numbness in an arm or leg
- Sudden changes in vision or loss of vision in one eye
- Slurring your words or difficulty speaking
- Facial droop
Treatment for carotid artery stenosis (narrowing) depends on your symptoms and how narrow the artery has become. Treatment may include:
- Lifestyle changes, especially quitting smoking
- Surgery, if you are at a high risk for stroke
Surgical Procedures for Carotid Artery Stenosis (Narrowing)
For a severely narrowed carotid artery, one of two procedures can be used to widen the channel through which blood flows to your brain:
- Carotid endarterectomy, an open surgery to remove plaque from the artery wall
- Carotid artery stenting, the placement of a wire mesh tube (stent) in the artery to hold it open. This procedure is performed using local anesthesia. Your doctor will need to talk to you during the procedure, so you'll be awake the entire time.
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