CUMMING, Ga. — A new minimally-invasive stenting procedure offered at Northside Hospital Heart and Vascular Institute is effectively treating carotid artery disease in older patients.
The procedure, called TransCarotid Artery Revascularization, removes blockages in the carotid (neck) artery and lowers the risk of stroke or heart attack, particularly in patients 75 and older.
Northside is among the first in Georgia and one of about 50 medical sites in the U.S. participating in this procedure, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration two years ago.
“With a very efficient and minimally invasive procedure, we’re able to minimize the stress on older patients who are at high risk of stroke and heart attack,” said Dr. Siddharth Patel, a general and vascular surgeon at Northside Hospital Heart and Vascular Institute. “With TCAR surgery, we are temporarily reversing the flow of blood in the carotid artery, preventing arterial plaque from entering the brain and causing a stroke.”
In TCAR surgery the surgeon makes a small incision in the neck, right at the blockage, and inserts a soft, flexible sheath directly into the artery. The procedure takes about 15 minutes or less. Most patients are able to go home soon after surgery, Patel said.
Prior to this new technology, the main treatment option for severe carotid artery disease was an open surgical procedure called carotid endarterectomy. This surgical technique allows for protection of the brain during the procedure, but the large incision leaves a visible scar the length of the neck. It also carries risks of surgical complications including bleeding, infection, heart attack and cranial nerve injuries that can cause issues with swallowing, speaking and sensation in the face.
“Patients who are 75 years or older may have difficulty tolerating the stress,” Patel said.
Patel recommends anyone with questions about the less-invasive TCAR surgery talk to their doctor.
About 795,000 people a year have strokes and more than 130,000 die, according to the CDC. Every year more than 400,000 people are diagnosed with blockages in their carotid artery that may lead to stroke.
For more information about available treatment for carotid artery disease at Northside Hospital, visit northside.com/heartandvascular.