What is Carotid Artery Disease?
On a yearly basis, cardiovascular disease (CVD) kills more people around the world than almost every other major disease combined. Carotid artery disease is a major form of CVD, occurring when fatty deposits build up in your carotid artery, essentially clogging the artery and preventing blood flow to the brain. As a result of this reduced rate of blood flow to the brain, patients are more susceptible to a stroke. Further testing for carotid artery disease may occur if a doctor hears a swishing sound in your neck called a bruit or if you have had symptoms of a stroke. Testing may involve an ultrasound of the carotid arteries, a magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) or a computed tomorgraphy angiography (CTA). A MRA and CTA are similar to a MRI and CT scan but they use a special dye to make the arteries show up more clearly.
Treatment for carotid artery disease includes lifestyle changes such as being active, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking. Sometimes people need medicine to lower blood pressure, cholesterol or thin the blood. However, if a patient has a lot of clot in the artery or is symptomatic, then surgery will be recommended.
How Can We Help?
The surgery to remove the plaque from the carotid artery is called a carotid endarterectomy. The surgery takes about 2 hours. After surgery, the patient will be admitted to the intensive care unit for monitoring. Patients usually stay in the hospital 1-2 days. An alternative to surgery for high risk patients is carotid stenting.
Who to Contact
Dr. Charlie Jones and Dr. Susan Hagen are general, vascular and thoracic surgeons with over 30 years of experience. To make an appointment, please call 303-443-2123.