Carotid Artery Disease

Carotid arteries are a pair of large blood vessels present on either side of the neck that supply blood to the brain. When these arteries get blocked, it leads to a condition known as carotid artery disease. In this disease, the arteries become narrow due to atherosclerosis in which plaque, made up of cholesterol and calcium, deposits on the inner lining of these arteries causing the arteries to harden and narrow. Due to the presence of plaque the blood flow is restricted and oxygen supply to the brain cells is reduced.

Surgery is the only effective way to treat patients with carotid artery disease. Carotid endarterectomy is the most common treatment for carotid artery disease. The surgery is highly beneficial for people who have already had a stroke, or a transient ischemic attack (TIA). Surgery may also be recommended for individuals with severe narrowing of the carotid arteries without a history of any symptoms. The aim of the surgery is to reduce the risk of stroke by shunting or rerouting the blood flow to the brain. The procedure is performed in a hospital under general or local anaesthesia with intravenous sedation. It is a relatively safe procedure but may be associated with a few complications including bleeding, infection, heart attack, blood clots and brain damage. There is also a minor risk of seizures and stroke.