Who needs Carotid Endarterectomy?

By  ,  National Institute of Health
Dec 27, 2012

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Your doctor may recommend carotid endarterectomy (CEA) if you have carotid artery disease. CEA can help prevent strokes in people who have this condition.

CEA is most helpful for people who have carotid artery disease and one or more of the following:

  • A prior stroke
  • A prior transient ischemic attack (TIA), or "mini-stroke." During a mini-stroke, you may have some or all of the symptoms of a stroke. However, the symptoms usually go away on their own within 24 hours.
  • Severely blocked carotid arteries (even if you don't have stroke symptoms).

Other Treatments for Carotid Artery Disease

Antiplatelet medicines, such as aspirin and clopidogrel, also are used to treat people who have carotid artery disease. These medicines help reduce blood clotting and lower the risk of stroke.

A medical procedure called carotid angioplasty may be used to open blocked carotid arteries instead of CEA. For this procedure, a thin tube with a balloon on the end is threaded to the narrowed or blocked artery.

Once in place, the balloon is inflated to push the plaque outward against the wall of the artery. Usually, the doctor then places a small metal stent in the artery to reduce the risk that it will become blocked again.


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