Add To Favorites In PHR
You have two carotid arteries, one on each side of your neck. They carry blood to your brain. Narrowing (stenosis) in a carotid artery increases your risk of stroke. If you have had a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), your doctor may suggest that you have a carotid artery procedure to help lower your risk of a stroke.
There are two types of carotid artery procedures: carotid endarterectomy surgery and carotid artery stenting. Endarterectomy is more common than stenting.
Your doctor will check several things to see if a procedure is an option for you. These things include:
A doctor may give you the option of having a procedure, but this may not be not a clear-cut decision. How you feel about the risks and benefits is just as important as the medical facts.
Carotid endarterectomy (say "kuh-RAW-tid en-dar-tuh-REK-tuh-mee") is surgery to remove plaque buildup from a carotid artery. During this surgery, a surgeon:
Carotid artery stenting is also called carotid angioplasty. It is similar to coronary angioplasty, which is done to open narrowed or blocked arteries in the heart. During this procedure, a doctor:
Timing is important in how well these procedures work. People may benefit most from a procedure if it is done within 2 weeks of the stroke or TIA. This is when the risk of another stroke is highest.
The risks of carotid endarterectomy include:
The risks of carotid stenting include:
Your chance of having a serious problem depends on things like your age and your overall health. Your doctor can help you understand your risk of problems from a procedure. It is important that your risk of stroke or death is less than 6%.footnote 4 It is also important to find a surgeon and a hospital that have experience in doing the procedure and have a low rate of serious problems..
A carotid procedure is not advised for some people. For example, a procedure may not be an option if you have:
Taking medicines and making healthy lifestyle changes are very important in preventing another stroke. These steps help control the conditions that increase your risk of stroke.
Having a procedure does not take the place of these steps. If you decide to have a procedure, you will still need to take medicine and have healthy habits.
Medicines that can help reduce the risk of stroke include:
Healthy habits that can help reduce the risk of stroke include:
CitationsRerkasem K, Rothwell PM (2011). Carotid endarterectomy for symptomatic carotid stenosis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (4).Brott TG, et al. (2010). Stenting versus endarterectomy for treatment of carotid-artery stenosis. New England Journal of Medicine, 363(1): 11-23.Bonati LH, et al. (2012). Percutaneous transluminal balloon angioplasty and stenting for carotid artery stenosis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (9). DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000515.pub4. Accessed September 12, 2014.Kernan WN, et al. (2014). Guidelines for the prevention of stroke in patients with stroke and transient ischemic attack: A guideline for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke, 45(7): 2160-2236. DOI: 10.1161/STR.0000000000000024. Accessed July 22, 2014.Other Works ConsultedKernan WN, et al. (2014). Guidelines for the prevention of stroke in patients with stroke and transient ischemic attack: A guideline for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke, 45(7): 2160-2236. DOI: 10.1161/STR.0000000000000024. Accessed July 22, 2014.Meschia JF, et al. (2014). Guidelines for the primary prevention of stroke: A statement for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke, published online October 28, 2014. DOI: 10.1161/STR.0000000000000046. Accessed October 29, 2014.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerRobert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
Current as ofOctober 5, 2017
Current as of: October 5, 2017
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
print close directions