The carotid arteries supply our brains with blood and oxygen; we have two Carotid arteries, one on each side of our necks. Carotid artery atherosclerosis happens when fat deposits inside the vessel wall, which will harden and obstruct the flow to our brain. Narrowing the carotid artery might lead to a brain stroke ( cerebrovascular accident) if a small chip of the calcified build-up breaks off and moves and obstructs the smaller blood vessels in the brain.
Risks factors are advanced age, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or heart disease.
Carotid artery stenosis symptoms:
-May be absent: Most people with carotid artery disease, even with severe blockage, experience no symptoms. Instead, a routine physical or imaging for other diseases will discover the stenosis or blockage.
-The first signs of carotid artery disease may be a stroke, mini-stroke, or TIA symptoms, such as weakness or numbness on one side of your body. You may also experience slurred speech or facial drooping.
Your doctor will start the work-up by performing Doppler Ultra-Sound; it is essential to diagnose the narrowing of the carotid artery. After your doctor confirms the diagnosis, you will probably undergo a CT scan or MRA needed to plan which procedure is better for your case.
– Less than 60% narrowing is usually treated with medications to control the cholesterol level in your bloodstream, smoke cessation, and Aspirin to prevent forming blood clots.
– More than 60% or symptomatic, the treatment is directed to managing the stroke and repairing the artery to prevent further strokes.
-Carotid Endarterectomy; is a surgical procedure in which we clean the artery from the plaque. All international medical authorities consider it the gold standard for managing Carotid artery disease.
-Carotid artery stent angioplasty, placing a stent inside the artery to prevent further strokes, is recommended in selected cases. However, it has a higher rate of complications than traditional surgical repair.