Carotid Artery Stenosis
The carotid arteries are two large blood vessels in the neck that supply oxygenated blood to the brain. Carotid artery disease includes atherosclerosis which leads narrowing of the artery due to buildup of fatty substances and cholesterol deposits known as plaque. Stenosis, or narrowing, of these arteries can lead to stroke, a leading cause of death and disability in the United States. Signs and symptoms of carotid artery disease include transient ischemic attacks (TIA) or stroke. Patients may report changes in vision, strength, sensation, speech or other abnormalities. Evaluation of the carotid arteries can be performed with several non-invasive imaging methods including ultrasound, MRI, and CT. Management depends on various factors including the degree of narrowing, symptoms, and overall health. Treatment can include a combination of medicines to combat progression of plaque formation, lifestyle modifications, open surgery, or minimally invasive endovascular treatment.