Understanding Carotid Artery Disease

Carotid arteries can become blocked by fat and cholesterol build-up as a result of atherosclerosis. Blockage of the internal carotid artery can reduce blood supply to the brain, causing a stroke. The patient may experience symptoms such as blurred vision, slurred speech, or weakness, which are all signs of stroke. By removing the fat and cholesterol build-up inside the artery, adequate blood flow is restored, which can help prevent a stroke. Blockages of carotid arteries in the neck are responsible for more than half of all strokes.

X-ray studies using a special dye, called carotid angiograms, can show the degree of blockage of the carotid arteries. Other tests such as ultrasound and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) can visualize blockages in the carotid arteries.

Carotid Artery Surgery

Carotid artery surgery (also known as carotid artery endarterectomy), is a surgical procedure to manually remove fat and cholesterol build-up from inside the carotid artery and restore adequate blood flow to the brain. While carotid surgery continues to be performed and is considered standard treatment, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital is offering a new, less invasive procedure in carotid artery stenting.

Carotid Artery Stenting

Carotid artery stenting is an exciting, minimally invasive procedure to re-open blocked carotid arteries and prevent stroke. It provides an excellent treatment option to patients who are high-risk candidates for surgery. MedStar Union Memorial is one of the country's most experienced sites for carotid stenting. Our specialists are currently participating in multiple FDA-approved carotid stenting procedures and have access to the latest stent and brain protection technologies.

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