CAROTID ARTERY DISEASE
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Carotid artery disease is a deposition of plaque clogs(fat) in the blood vessels delivering blood to brain, neck and head (carotid arteries). This blockage increases stroke risk as the brain blood supply is interrupted or seriously reduced or paralysis, a life threatening and disabling condition.
Usual Symptoms of a mini stroke are –
- Weakness or numbness on one side(leg, arm or face)
- Slurred Speech
- Visual Disturbances.
If the symptoms last a few minutes/hours, they may be alarming signs of carotid blockage and an impending stroke.
Symptoms evaluated by a carotid Doppler test, a simple non-invasive neck sonography. A confirmatory angiography or CT angiography may also be done.
Additionally, patients with high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol or past heart problems must do a baseline carotid Doppler test.
If the blockage is identified at early stages and successfully treated , major strokes can be minimized. Minor blockages, less than 50% are treated with blood thinners and cholesterol-controlling medicines. Blockages more than 50% are treated with surgery or angioplasty with stenting. Major treatment options are –
- Carotid endarterectomy, a special surgical procedure used to remove carotid artery blockage, routinely performed with a loco-regional anesthesia for easy intraoperative neurological monitoring. A shunt is used to maintain blood flow to the brain.The artery is repaired with a vein or graft patch to prevent narrowing.
- Carotid angioplasty with stenting under a protection device prevents small plaque particles from dislodging into the brain during sterling, reducing complications to less than 3%. It is mainly performed in high-risk patients or in patients with high carotid bifurcation.
Can this treat stroke
The stroke has already caused severe damages in the brain, therefore this treatment will not be fruitful. It is essential to treat carotid artery disease before the stroke