Carotid Artery Surgery Can Help Prevent Stroke In Our Senior Population That Is Much More Susceptible To Developing Carotid Artery Disease
Carotid artery surgery is necessary for patients with blockage in the carotid artery because as carotid artery disease progresses and the arteries narrow, the possibility of getting a stroke increases. At The Vein and Vascular Institute of Spring Hill our vascular physicians are firm believers in doing everything possible to treat carotid artery disease with non-invasive procedures when possible, before resorting to the more invasive bypass surgery.
What is Carotid Artery Disease?
Carotid arteries are the major arteries in the neck that supply oxygen-rich blood to the brain. When the carotid arteries become narrowed or blocked by a build up of plaque (a sticky substance made up of cholesterol, calcium and fibrous tissue), this is a dangerous condition referred to as carotid artery disease.
Narrowed or blocked carotid arteries are very serious because they restrict blood flow to the brain. This results in compromised brain function and also puts you at increased risk of having a stroke which can cause permanent brain damage and death.
What causes a blocked carotid artery?
Carotid artery blockage is a disease that develops as you age. Ten percent of adults between the ages of 80 and 89 suffer from carotid artery disease, but only one percent of adults between 50 and 59 suffer from it. The incidence is higher in people who smoke, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes. Poor diet and lack of exercise also put you at a higher risk of developing the disease.
If you have a family history of Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) or stroke, you are also at higher risk for developing carotid artery blockage. In addition, men are more likely to develop the disease than women.
Carotid artery blockage symptoms
Unfortunately, a person could have carotid artery disease and show absolutely no signs or symptoms of the disease.
As a warning sign of carotid arterial disease, a person could experience what is known as a “mini-stroke” (or transient ischemic attack – TIA). A TIA is a temporary episode where a person experiences loss of vision in one or both eyes, numbness or weakness in the arm, leg or face on one side of the body, slurred speech, difficulty understanding what someone else is saying, difficulty talking, a loss of coordination, dizziness or confusion and/or trouble swallowing. Usually, this episode can last just a few minutes, or up to 24 hours.
If you have ever experienced any of the symptoms related to TIA, it is important to get a vascular screening as soon as possible to see if you have any blockage in your carotid artery, because if you do have blockage it will only worsen with time, leading you to a stroke which can be fatal or that could leave you disabled for life.
Diagnosis of Carotid Artery Disease
Commonly, a carotid ultrasound is performed to examine the health of your carotid arteries and to discover if any blockage has developed and to what extent the blockage has progressed.
If the results of the ultrasound are not clear or if your physician needs more information regarding the blockage, a Carotid Angiography is performed as well. During the Angiography, a contrast dye is injected into your bloodstream so that the carotid artery can be more easily viewed and examined by x-ray.
Another method of diagnosis is through Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) where pictures of your carotid artery are taken using a large magnet and radio waves.
Yet another method of diagnosis is Computed Tomography Angiography or CT Angiography, where a computer is used to produce two-dimensional and three-dimensional images from x-ray pictures of your carotid arteries.
All these methods of diagnoses help the vascular physician determine to what extent the blockage of your arteries has progressed and to further clarify the details of your carotid artery disease.
Treatment of Carotid Artery Disease
Depending on how much blockage is discovered in the carotid artery, your physician may recommend lifestyle adjustments, medication, non-surgical invasive procedures or, as a last resort, carotid artery surgery.
If some narrowing is evident, but the situation is non-threatening our doctors will recommend that the patient stick to a healthy diet, follow a formal exercise plan, and stop smoking, if they smoke. If necessary, medication can be prescribed to keep the disease under control and prevent its progression.
If the patient has been diagnosed with carotid artery disease and has diabetes or high blood pressure, these conditions have to be brought under control, since they are contributing factors to the problem.
If after taking all the measures recommended by our doctors to stop the progression of the disease, the carotid artery continues to narrow, or if it has reached a dangerous level of blockage, non-surgical invasive procedures such as Balloon Angioplasty, Stent Deployment or Percutaneous Endovascular Atherectomy can be performed to widen the obstructed artery for better blood flow.
During a Balloon Angioplasty, a balloon catheter is used to widen the narrowed or obstructed artery. During Stent Deployment a wire mesh tube, or stent is placed inside the narrowed artery to keep the artery open for better blood flow. If a Percutaneous Endovascular Atherectomy is performed, plaque is actually scraped and removed from the blocked carotid artery through a small incision in the skin. The Percutaneous Endovascular Atherectomy procedure provides longer lasting results.
Finally, in severe cases of carotid artery disease and where non-invasive procedures are not effective bypass surgery may be necessary. In bypass surgery, the patient’s own veins from their body or prosthetic devices are used to bypass around the arterial blockage.
The Board Certified Vascular Surgeons at The Vein and Vascular Institute of Spring Hill have helped thousands of patients suffering from carotid artery disease, diminishing their risk of having a stroke. We offer innovative therapies and we are equipped with advanced ultrasonic equipment for diagnostic and therapeutic interventions. Our mission is to always provide compassionate and personalized care to all our patients.
If you live in the Spring Hill, Florida area and you think that you are at high risk for carotid artery disease, or if you have experienced any of its symptoms, please do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with us for a consultation.
A simple vascular screening can be performed to determine whether or not you have developed any blockage in your carotid artery and if you are in danger of having a stroke. Give us a call today at (352) 505-1737 because your health matters to us.
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Carotid Artery Surgery in Florida - Vascular Surgeons Locations
6633 Forest Ave. | New Port Richey, FL, 34653
The Vein and Vascular Institute of New Port Richey
6633 Forest Ave.
New Port Richey, FL 34653
Located at the Morton Plant North Bay Hospital.
3140 S Falkenburg Rd | Riverview, FL, 33578
The Vein and Vascular Institute of Riverview
3140 S Falkenburg Rd
Riverview, FL 33578
Located on S Falkenburg Road between Causeway Blvd and U.S. Highway 301.
13113 Spring Hill Dr. | Spring Hill, FL, 34609
The Vein and Vascular Institute of Spring Hill
13113 Spring Hill Dr.
Spring Hill, FL 34609
Located on Spring Hill Drive between Whitewood Avenue and Linden Drive.
19185 N Dale Mabry Hwy | Lutz, FL, 33548
The Vein and Vascular Institute of Lutz
19185 N Dale Mabry Hwy
Lutz, FL 33548
Located on N Dale Mabry Highway between Van Dyke Rd and Lutz Lake Fern.
2809 W Waters Ave. | Tampa, FL, 33614
The Vein and Vascular Institute of Tampa Bay
2809 W Waters Ave.
Tampa, FL 33614
Located on W Waters Avenue just west of N Habana Avenue.