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Carotid Artery Disease

Carotid Artery Disease is a gradual build up of plaque called atherosclerosis in the neck arteries. The gradual build up of plaque can result in a stroke, or Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA). A stroke occurs when the blood flow to the brain is restricted or when a piece of the blockage breaks off and lodges in the artery in a smaller vessel.

Risk factors:

  • Age
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Inactivity

Symptoms:

  • Sudden loss of vision, blurred vision, or difficulty in seeing out of one or both eyes
  • Weakness, tingling, or numbness on one side of the face, one side of the body, or in one arm/leg
  • Sudden difficulty in walking, loss of balance, lack of coordination
  • Sudden dizziness and/or confusion
  • Difficulty speaking (called aphasia)
  • Confusion
  • Sudden severe headache
  • Problems with memory
  • Difficulty swallowing (called dysphagia)

How is this Diagnosed?

Carotid Artery Disease is generally diagnosed by a non-invasive imaging method such as an ultrasound.

Treatments:

Endartarectomy – small incision is made in the neck over the carotid artery. The artery is then opened and the plaque is removed. A Small patch is placed over the artery and the incision is closed.