Narrowed carotid arteries in your neck don't give you any warning signs, but they can cause a potentially life-threatening stroke. Diagnosing and treating carotid artery disease before it reaches this stage is a specialty of board-certified vascular surgeon Jeffrey Hager, DO, FACOS, of Hager Advanced Vein Care. At their locations in Manahawkin and Toms River, New Jersey, Dr. Hager and his team offer expert carotid angioplasty and stenting and endarterectomy procedures to treat carotid artery disease. Call Hager Advanced Vein Care today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.
Carotid artery disease causes a narrowing and eventual blockage of the carotid arteries in your neck. These large arteries deliver blood from your heart to your head, supplying your brain with oxygen. If blood can't get to your brain, the result could be a potentially life-threatening stroke.
Carotid artery disease develops for the same reason as other vascular diseases like atherosclerosis and peripheral arterial disease (PAD) — plaque inside your blood vessels.
Plaque is a sticky substance composed of cholesterol and various waste products circulating in your blood. It gathers on the walls of your carotid arteries, building up over time and gradually restricting the flow of blood to your brain.
At your consultation, the vascular team conducts a thorough physical examination, discusses any symptoms, and looks over your medical history. They also listen for a distinctive noise in your carotid arteries called bruit, a swooshing sound that signifies restricted blood flow.
Other diagnostic tests that you might need include:
Using the results of these tests, the team can assess how well blood is flowing along your carotid arteries and measure the arterial blood pressure. They can also see whether your brain is experiencing oxygen shortages.
The buildup of plaque in your carotid arteries is most likely the result of unhealthy behaviors like eating a diet high in cholesterol. Making changes to your lifestyle is the foundation of your carotid artery disease treatment. Changes you might need to make include:
You might also need to undergo a procedure to increase blood flow through the arteries. There are two possible approaches the vascular team can use:
Angioplasty is a catheterization procedure, which means your provider inserts a flexible tube called a catheter into the artery through a tiny incision. The catheter has a balloon on the end that he inflates when it reaches the narrowed section of the artery.
The balloon presses against the plaque, flattening it and making more room for blood to flow. To keep the artery open, they can insert a piece of mesh tubing called a stent into the artery.
Endarterectomy is a procedure where your provider accesses the affected artery directly and scrapes the plaque out to enable blood to flow again.
You can avoid the risk of stroke by having a carotid artery screening test at Hager Advanced Vein Care. Call the office to learn more or book an appointment online.