Carotid Artery Disease
Carotid Stenosis and Carotid Occlusion
Duke's heart and vascular specialists treat carotid artery disease at every stage. We may recommend lifestyle modifications and medications to reduce the buildup of plaque in your carotid arteries, as well as minimally invasive procedures or surgery to restore blood flow. Carotid artery disease is the buildup of plaque along the inner wall of the arteries that causes narrowing and restricts blood flow. It is also known as carotid artery stenosis or carotid artery occlusion. We help decrease your risk for the serious complications that can occur as a result of this disease.
Early Diagnosis, Active Management Lowers Your Stroke Risk
If you have a family history of carotid artery disease, like carotid artery stenosis or carotid artery occlusion, or your doctor indicates it may be present, immediate care and aggressive management are essential. Carotid artery disease often presents without any symptoms, and the first signs can be a mild or severe stroke. Our skilled team of cardiologists, vascular surgeons and neurologists work with you to carefully evaluate your personal risk factors early on, so they can actively monitor your condition and determine the best course of action. We help you manage your carotid artery stenosis or carotid artery occlusion through lifestyle changes, medication, and procedures when needed. Our goal is to help you lower your risk for stroke and remain healthy.
Choose Duke for the treatment of your carotid artery disease because we offer:
- Top-ranked care. U.S. News and World Report ranks Duke Heart Center among the best in the nation, based on our patients’ survival rates, the number of procedures we perform and the quality of our support services.
- Advanced tools for early, accurate diagnosis. We use the latest risk assessment methods and imaging technology to identify and evaluate your carotid artery disease at the earliest possible stage.
- Nationally recognized surgical expertise. Our surgeons perform hundreds of procedures to open blocked carotid arteries each year. As invited participants in one of the National Institutes of Health’s largest studies of minimally invasive and surgical approaches to carotid artery disease, our surgical team underwent additional rigorous training and credentialing. We maintain a level of surgical expertise in treating carotid artery disease that you won’t find at many centers across the state.
- Minimally invasive treatment options. If you are symptomatic or at high risk for the complications that may be associated with surgery, we offer a minimally invasive option that is also safe and effective.
- Coordinated stroke prevention and care. Because carotid artery disease is a leading risk factor for stroke, you have access to our nationally recognized team of vascular surgeons, neurologists, and interventional cardiologists. They work with you to prevent and treat stroke if it occurs.
- Personalized risk factor management program. Lifestyle changes can be key to managing carotid artery disease, including carotid artery stenosis and carotid artery occlusion. We offer one-on-one, personalized exercise and nutrition counseling and high blood pressure control through our cardiac prevention and rehabilitation program.
CAROTID ARTERY DISEASE
Prescribed to control your risk factors, and may include drugs to lower cholesterol and keep high blood pressure in check. Anti-clotting medications may also be prescribed to reduce your risk for blood clots.
Removes plaque from the carotid artery through a small incision in the neck. It is typically performed in patients who are having symptoms when the carotid artery is more than 50 percent blocked, or in otherwise healthy patients when the carotid artery is more than 60 percent blocked. Our skilled vascular surgeons and neurosurgeons collaborate closely during these procedures to monitor your risk for stroke.
This minimally invasive procedure uses a catheter to access the carotid artery. A balloon is inflated to open the artery and a small mesh tube, or stent, is inserted to maintain the opening. The artery heals around the stent. Studies show this procedure is as safe and effective as carotid endarterectomy in patients at high risk for the open surgery.
Our cardiac prevention and rehabilitation program helps you make lasting changes that positively impact your health. They design a program to prevents your carotid artery stenosis from worsening, and lowers your risk for stroke. We provide the tools you need -- medically supervised exercise programs, nutrition and weight loss counseling and high blood pressure control.
CAROTID ARTERY DISEASE
We use a variety of advanced screening technologies to capture highly detailed images of the arteries to determine if they are narrowed or blocked by plaque build-up.
A noninvasive test that uses sound waves to measure the speed of blood flow in arteries and veins, and creates high-quality images showing how well the blood flows through the carotid arteries.
A contrast agent injected into the arm and CT scanner produce highly detailed images of the blood vessels, bones and surrounding soft tissues creating a "map" of the arteries indicating areas that are narrowed, blocked or damaged.