“For individuals who require surgery to address their carotid artery disease, we have to consider the impact the surgery itself may have, the patient’s body and most importantly, their brain. Any repair of the carotid artery carries some risk of stroke, but TCAR carries the same low stroke rate as the traditional surgical option with a less invasive approach. That means there’s a reduced risk of heart attack, nerve injury and time needed to perform the procedure,” says Charles Joels, MD, board certified vascular surgeon with USA Vascular.
TCAR is a clinically proven method for preventing stroke that temporarily diverts blood flow and debris away from the brain – allowing the surgeon to place a carotid stent for long term stroke prevention.
After the device is turned on and blood flow is reversed, a guidewire is passed across the narrowing plaque inside the artery. In some cases, a balloon is used to open it up, and a stent is inserted int to the artery to hold it open – ensuring adequate blood flow.
Anyone who is considered high risk for an open carotid artery surgery greatly benefit from TCAR, particularly those over the age of 75 who have heart, lung, or kidney disease or who have an obstructed carotid artery on the other side.
“The goal of carotid artery surgery is to prevent stroke, and there are two types of people who benefit from this surgery. The first is someone who’s had a stroke or mini stroke that’s caused by a buildup of plaque in the carotid artery. Because they’ve already had symptoms, there’s a pretty high risk of having a more serious stroke in the future,” says Dr. Joels. “The other type of patient might have a tightening or narrowing of their blood flow in their carotid, but they don’t yet show symptoms. The same procedure is used to prevent them from having a stroke in the first place.”