Carotid Stenosis

Peak Heart & Vascular

Multispecialty Cardiovascular Group located in Laveen, Surprise, Avondale, Phoenix, and Flagstaff, AZ

Carotid stenosis or carotid artery disease is a narrowing of the carotid arteries, which carry blood to the brain. If you have carotid stenosis, you’re at a far greater risk of stroke. The team at Peak Heart & Vascular in Laveen, Surprise, Avondale, Flagstaff, and Phoenix, Arizona, provides cutting-edge therapies to help you manage carotid stenosis and reduce your risk of major complications. Make an appointment by phone or online if you need help with carotid stenosis.

Carotid Stenosis Q & A

What is carotid stenosis?

Carotid stenosis means that the arteries that carry blood to your brain have developed plaques, accumulations of cholesterol and other fats that narrow the arterial walls. When the arteries are clogged so much that blood and the oxygen it carries are prevented from reaching the brain, a stroke occurs.

Carotid arteries narrowed by 70% or more put you at the greatest risk of a stroke. A stroke is a major medical incident that can lead to death. If you have the symptoms of a stroke, head to your nearest emergency room immediately. Damage to brain cells can occur within minutes.

What are the symptoms of carotid stenosis?

The clogging of the carotid arteries that defines carotid stenosis develops over time. Usually, you won’t know you have carotid stenosis unless you have a screening or until you experience a stroke or TIA (transient ischemic attack). A TIA is a temporary shortage of blood flow to your brain and causes symptoms like:

  • Confusion
  • Temporary loss of coordination
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness or numbness

If you have experienced a TIA, it’s a must that you get an evaluation at Peak Heart & Vascular. One in three people who have a TIA experience a stroke within a year.

How is carotid stenosis treated?

Treatment for carotid stenosis aims to reduce the risk of stroke by controlling or removing plaque build-up and preventing blood clots.

Treatment for carotid stenosis depends on the extent of the plaques in your arteries. For mild cases, your doctor may recommend monitoring and management with lifestyle changes and medications to lower high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

Minimally invasive treatment for carotid stenosis involves placing a stent inside the blocked carotid artery, a procedure known as a carotid stenting. The stent holds the artery open and discourages further plaque build-up.

At Peak Heart & Vascular, the doctors also offer the latest method in stenting called trans-carotid artery revascularization (TCAR). During this advanced approach, a small incision just above your collarbone is used to access the common carotid artery.  A catheter is placed in the artery, and a large IV catheter is placed in the femoral vein and these two are connected.  This creates a reversal of blood flow away from the brain, across the carotid stenosis, out the body through a filter and returned to the body into the vein.  This novel technique prevents any emboli created during angioplasty and stenting from going towards the brain, and instead are harmlessly filtered out.  This minimally invasive method helps prevent a stroke and is clinically proven for patients for whom traditional treatments are dangerous. You also experience a shorter hospital stay, faster recovery, and smaller incision.    Our physicians at Peak Heart & Vascular were one of the first in Arizona to offer this procedure.  Our excellent results are monitored in a national database.  

Surgery to open the carotid artery and remove any plaque (Carotid Endarterectomy) remains the standard treatment for severe carotid stenosis and is offered for appropriate patients.

The talented team at Peak Heart & Vascular can help you avoid the complications of carotid stenosis. If you’re at risk or have a diagnosis, make an appointment by phone or online.