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Carotid Stenosis

What is carotid stenosis?

This is narrowing of one or both of the carotid arteries which irrigate a significant amount brain tissue. The are commonly seen to narrow with age and are a common cause for stroke. Some families can show a history of carotid narrowing which should be detected early.

Carotid Stenosis

What are symptoms of carotid stenosis?

Patients who experience symptoms related to carotid stenosis can experience numbness and weakness which often involves one side of the face or body. Additionally, patients may experience speech and communication problems as well as visual changes associated with carotid narrowing. Alternatively, some patients have absolutely no symptoms of carotid narrowing.

How do you diagnose carotid stenosis?

There are many imaging techniques used to diagnose carotid stenosis. They include ultrasound as well as imaging such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) protocols. In addition, simple auscultation of the neck with a stethoscope can identify a "bruit" or rushing sound which may indicate carotid stenosis.

How do you treat carotid stenosis?

There are two main surgical and interventional strategies for treating carotid stenosis. They include an open procedure called a "Carotid Endarterectomy" where the blood vessel is opened and the plaque is removed. "Carotid Stenting" is another approach where the artery is opened with a metal tube or "stent".

Carotid Stenosis Stent Placement

Not all patients with carotid stenosis require surgery or intervention. Medical management can be an effective strategy for treatment. At Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, we are experts at diagnosing and treating patients with carotid stenosis. Through our multidisciplinary center, we provide resources for comprehensive treatment, long-term follow-up and support for patients and families.

For more information, please contact us.

Page reviewed on: Sep 02, 2014

Page reviewed by: Robert J. Singer, MD

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