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Surgical Associates
of Dallas
Main Office
621 N. Hall Street
Suite 100
Dallas, Texas 75226
Phone: 214.821.9600
Fax: 214.821.9325

McKinney Office
Plano Office
Carotid Artery Disease

Carotid Artery Disease is caused by plaque build-up (atherosclerosis) within the lining of the arteries. This process (also known as hardening of the arteries) worsens over time as plaque continues to collect. The carotid arteries (one on each side of the neck) supply blood to the large frontal part of the brain, which controls thinking, speech, personality, sensory and motor function. Carotid artery disease can result in a transient ischemic attack or stroke.

Carotid artery disease may not present any symptoms. However, there may be warning signs of a stroke. Transient ischemic attack (TIA) is one of the most important warning signs of a stroke. A TIA may occur as the atherosclerotic plaque build-up can cause complete artery blockage or break off into a small floating particle that can result in a blockage. TIA's are temporary and may last a few minutes or a few hours. Their symptoms may occur alone or in combination. TIA's are strong predictors of future strokes; a person who has experienced a TIA is 10 times more likely to suffer a major stroke.

TIA Symptoms

  • Sudden loss of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  • Weakness and/or numbness on one side of the face, or in one arm or leg
  • Slurred speech, difficulty talking or understanding what others are saying
  • Loss of coordination
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Difficulty swallowing

Diagnosing Carotid Disease
Your doctor will listen to the arteries in your neck with a stethoscope to see if he is able to detect a bruit (an abnormal rushing sound), which may indicate carotid artery disease. Bruits are not always present when there are blockages. Other out-patient diagnostic tests include:

  • Carotid Duplex Ultrasound - a non-invasive test performed in the office
  • Carotid Angiography - a minimally invasive procedure performed in an out-patient hospital setting.
  • MRA - magnetic resonance angiogram
  • CT scan
  • CTA - computed tomography angiogram

Recommendations for the prevention of Carotid Artery Disease progression

  • Quit smoking and stop tobacco product use
  • Control high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease
  • Have regular checkups with your doctor, including LDL and HDL levels
  • Eat foods low in saturated fats, cholesterol and sodium
  • Achieve and maintain a desirable weight
  • Exercise regularly - 30 minutes 3 to 4 times per week
  • Limit alcohol intake

Treatment of Carotid Artery Disease
Carotid artery disease is treated according to the severity of the disease:

  • Lifestyle modifications as mentioned above
  • Prescribed medications such as blood thinners
  • Surgical Treatment

Surgical Treatment Procedures
A surgical procedure must be performed if there is severe narrowing or blockage in the carotid artery, to prevent a future stroke. There are two options; Carotid Endarterectomy or Carotid Stenting and Angioplasty.

Carotid Endarterectomy is the traditional open surgical repair which has been proven to be beneficial for symptomatic patients with a 50 percent or greater stenosis (blockage) and for asymptomatic patients with a 60 percent or greater stenosis (blockage). During this procedure, an incision is made in the neck at the site of the carotid artery blockage. The surgeon removes the plaque from the artery and stitches the vessel closed. Blood flow to the brain is restored through its normal path.

Carotid Stenting and Angioplasty has been FDA approved optionfor some patients with carotid artery disease. All patients are not candidates for this procedure. During this procedure, a balloon catheter is inserted through a sheath in a blood vessel. With X-ray guidance, the catheter is placed through the blood vessel and directed to the carotid artery at the site of the blockage or narrowing. Then a specially designed guidewire with a filter is placed beyond the area of blockage or narrowing. Once in place, the balloon tip is inflated for a few seconds to open or widen the artery. The filter collects any debris that may break off of the blockage. A stent (small mesh tube) is placed in the artery and opens to fit the size of the artery. The stent stays in place permanently and acts as a scaffold to support the artery walls and keep the artery open. After several weeks, the artery heals around the stent.

Patients often return to regular activities within 1 to 2 weeks after these procedures.

Website Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is presented for your general knowledge only and should not be deemed a substitute for professional advice or treatment for a specific medical condition(s) by a physician or healthcare professional.

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) / Peripheral Venous Disease (PVD)
Endovascular Therapy
Carotid Artery Disease
Varicose Veins
Vascular Diagnostics
Our Team of Physicians:
Jay Vasquez Jr., M.D.
Hung B. Chu, M.D.
For All Appointments
(214) 821-9600
Days: Monday - Friday
Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
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