Good brain function depends on a steady flow of oxygen-rich blood through the carotid arteries in your neck. If you have a blockage that slows that blood flow down, you have carotid artery disease. And you could be at increased risk for a stroke. At Baptist Health, we have the expertise to help you manage your disease and lower your stroke risk.

When you come to us for carotid artery disease treatment, you can be confident you’ll receive the most comprehensive, high-quality care available. We bring together a multidisciplinary team of experts who can diagnose your condition and recommend the best therapy options.

Together, we can manage your condition and minimize your chances of having a stroke.

Our Approach to Carotid Artery Disease Care

Our Approach to Carotid Artery Disease Care

When you come to us for carotid artery disease care, we take the time to review your entire health history. That way, we know if you’ve had previous blood vessel problems or if you’re experiencing a new issue.

Our multidisciplinary team of experts works together to bring you the right diagnosis and to design a treatment plan that meets your specific needs. By using the most advanced traditional or minimally invasive procedures to treat carotid artery disease, we can reduce stroke risk between 70 and 80 percent.

Along with our commitment to delivering high-quality carotid artery disease treatment, we also have a passion for improving the services we provide. We’re constantly researching and developing new therapies to improve our carotid artery disease program, leading to better patient outcomes.

  • 5 mm

    In a healthy man, the carotid artery is about 5 millimeters wide, the diameter of a pencil eraser.
  • Stroke risk

    Carotid artery stenosis, or narrowing, increases the risk of a stroke.
  • 70 - 99%

    When a carotid artery has narrowed 70 to 99 percent due to plaque build up, it is considered severe, and treatment is recommended to reduce stroke risk.

What Is Carotid Artery Disease?

Your brain needs a good supply of oxygen-rich blood to function correctly. When anything narrows the blood vessels in your head and neck — fatty deposits (plaque), calcium or fibrous tissue — you have carotid artery disease.

Much like how coronary artery disease can cause a heart attack, carotid artery disease can cause a stroke. When you have reduced oxygen flow to your brain, your brain cells start to die. If your carotid arteries get too narrow — or a piece of plaque breaks off and blocks blood flow — you can have a stroke.

When your arteries narrow, it is called atherosclerosis. Risk factors linked to atherosclerosis include:

  • Diabetes
  • Diet high in saturated fat
  • Family history
  • Genetic factors
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Lack of exercise
  • Male gender
  • Older age
  • Overweight
  • Race
  • Smoking

Diagnosing Carotid Artery Disease

To protect your brain’s health, we need to know the exact spots where blood flow is slowing down. We use this information to give you the individualized care that you need.

Our team uses the most sophisticated, leading-edge diagnostic vascular testing tools to determine if you have carotid artery disease. By using advanced ultrasound tools, we can see which carotid arteries are narrow and how much plaque has already built up.

Carotid Artery Disease Treatment

When treating your carotid artery disease, our priority is finding a way to improve your blood flow and prevent plaque buildup in your veins. We’ll start with medication therapy, such as blood thinners (anticoagulants) or blood pressure medications. If those don’t work, our highly skilled experts are trained in the most advanced traditional and minimally invasive procedures.

We will work with you to identify the treatment option that will work best for you.

  • Through a small cut (incision) in your groin, your surgeon threads a thin, flexible tube (a catheter) carrying a small balloon through to the blocked carotid artery in your neck. They inflate the balloon when they reach the blockage to open the narrowed area and insert a thin, metal-mesh tube called a stent. The stent keeps your artery open for better blood flow.

  • During this open surgery procedure, your surgeon makes an incision directly over your blocked artery, opening it like a book, and uses special tools to remove the plaque.

  • In this minimally invasive procedure, your surgeon makes a small incision into your carotid artery and inserts a tube connected to a system that temporarily reverses blood flow away from your brain. They implant a stent and then, the system returns your blood flow back toward your brain.

"What’s remarkable about TCAR is that patients tolerate this flow reversal extremely well,” says Dr. Pereda. “This procedure has the lowest amount of ‘hits’ to the brain of any of the other procedures, including traditional carotid artery surgery.”
Meet our Carotid Artery Disease Specialists

Meet our Carotid Artery Disease Specialists

We have an outstanding, diverse team of carotid artery disease specialists ready to serve you. Our electrophysiologists, interventional cardiologists, lipidologists, surgeons and rehabilitation professionals can provide treatment in all aspects of vascular care.

Carotid Artery Disease Clinical Trials

At Baptist Health, we are trailblazers in research. We’ve contributed to many groundbreaking clinical trials, including the National Institutes of Health-funded CREST and CREST II trials that compared various stroke prevention methods. If you’re interested in being a partner in our research and want to learn more about our clinical trials, talk with your doctor or view our list of ongoing trials.

Our Locations

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