Slowing disease progression and removing blockages
Expert Heart & Vascular Care
Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our heart or vascular specialists.
The carotid arteries are the two large blood vessels in your neck that supply the brain with blood. We treat carotid artery disease, which occurs when fatty plaque deposits cause the carotid arteries to narrow or become blocked, with a goal of keeping the disease from getting worse and preventing stroke.
The experts in our Vascular and Endovascular Program are leaders in treating carotid artery disease, including through endarterectomy, angioplasty and stenting. We’ll work with you to evaluate and choose the least invasive, most effective treatment for your condition.
Medication and lifestyle changes
If your carotid artery disease is mild to moderate, lifestyle modifications may slow the progression of the disease. This can include quitting smoking, losing weight, eating healthy and exercising regularly.
If lifestyle changes aren’t enough to slows the disease’s progression, your doctor may recommend medication to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol and prevent blood clots from forming.
Procedures to open narrow or blocked carotid arteries
In more severe cases, your doctor may recommend a procedure to reopen the carotid artery in order to lower your risk of stroke. There are two options in which to do this: carotid endarterectomy or angioplasty and stenting.
This is the most common treatment for carotid artery disease. After being put under general anesthesia, your doctor will make an incision in your neck to reach the narrowed or blocked carotid artery and reroute blood flow to the brain. They then will remove the plaque and repair the damaged portion of the artery. Finally, blood flow will be restored through its normal path.
The procedure should take about two hours, and you’ll need to stay overnight in the hospital.
Angioplasty and stenting
This is an alternative, minimally invasive approach that can be used if your blockage is too difficult to reach with endarterectomy or you have health conditions that make surgery too risky. In this procedure, you’ll be given a sedative to help you relax, but you’ll remain awake.
Your doctor will insert a thin, flexible tube known as a catheter through a blood vessel in your arm, groin or neck and guide it to the blockage. A balloon at the end of the catheter will be inflated to widen the artery, and a small wire mesh tube called a stent will be inserted to act as a scaffold and keep the artery open.
The procedure should take about an hour and a half. You will need to stay overnight for monitoring.
Carotid artery disease, also known as carotid artery stenosis, occurs when fatty deposits known as plaque cause the carotid arteries to narrow or become blocked.
A carotid body tumor, also known as a chemodectoma or paraganglioma, is a tumor located in the upper part of the neck where the two carotid arteries, which carry blood from the heart to the brain, branches into smaller blood vessels.
A extracranial carotid artery aneurysm is a bulge that weakens the walls of the main artery in your neck and may create blood clots that can result in a stroke.
An angiogram is a special X-ray taken as a special dye is injected through a thin, flexible tube called a catheter to detect blockages or aneurysms in blood vessels.
Carotid duplex ultrasound uses Doppler and traditional ultrasound to assess blood flow in the arteries that supply blood to your brain.