Carotid arteries are the primary arteries in the neck that supply blood to the brain. Over time, atherosclerotic plaque can build up inside the arteries, narrowing or eventually blocking these blood vessels. Carotid artery atherosclerosis can lead to decreased blood flow or the generation of blood clots that result in transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) and stroke.
Risk Factors for Stroke
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
- History of Stroke or Mini Stroke
- Heart Disease
- Sickle Cell Disease
- Tobacco Use
- Unhealthy Diet
Radiologists can perform non-invasive tests to help your doctor diagnose the condition, including carotid duplex ultrasound, CT angiography, and magnetic resonance angiography. In some cases, a more invasive test called catheter angiography may be necessary to evaluate the arteries.
Lifestyle changes and medications are often prescribed as a first line of treatment. However, carotid artery disease that is more severe in degree may require more immediate therapy to avoid an imminent stroke.
The longstanding surgical treatment for carotid artery disease is a carotid endarterectomy, where a vascular surgeon opens the artery and removes the plaque. According to the Society for Vascular Surgery, carotid endarterectomy is safe and long lasting when performed by a qualified vascular surgeon under the proper circumstances. In select patients who are not surgical candidates, less invasive endovascular therapies are available through carotid angioplasty and stenting. VIVA provides a comprehensive service offering diagnosis and all forms of management for this condition.
Additional Resources and Sources:
Click Here to read more about carotid artery disease and stroke at vascularweb.org
VascularWeb.org, Web site of the Society for Vascular Surgery
Virginia Interventional and Vascular Associates
Viva offers the following services:
- Carotid artery ultrasound
- Carotid Angiography (Catheter, CTA, MRA)
- Carotid Stent Placement
- Carotid Endarterectomy