Carotid Artery Disease

Miami Vascular Specialists offers our patients advanced, state-of-the-art treatments for carotid artery disease. Our expertise encompasses minimally invasive vascular procedures to prevent and treat carotid artery disease and strokes.

Carotid  Arteries

The carotid arteries are the large arteries on each side of the neck that supply blood to the head and brain. Carotid artery disease involves a buildup of fatty deposits or “plaque” that can narrow and block blood flow through the arteries, possibly leading to a stroke. Nearly 700,000 people in the United States experience a stroke each year; 200,000 of them are repeat strokes.

Signs & symptoms

Carotid artery disease may never show signs until a stroke has occurred. Call 911 immediately if you experience any signs or symptoms of a stroke, which may include:

  • Partial loss of vision in one eye
  • Weakness, tingling or numbness in one arm and/or leg
  • Temporary loss of control of movement in one arm and/or leg
  • Inability to pronounce words or speak clearly
  • Unsteadiness, vertigo, double vision or sudden falls
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Temporary memory loss
  • Vertigo
  • Loss of balance
  • Personality or mood changes
  • Drowsiness or loss of consciousness
  • Uncontrollable eye movements or eye drooping

Risk factors

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Sleep apnea
  • Family history
  • Age

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of carotid artery disease typically includes a medical evaluation and review of family history and risk factors. Testing may include:

  • Ultrasound
  • CT or MRI
  • CT angiography or MR angiography

Treatment

Minimally-invasive treatment options include:

  • Clot-busting medications delivered through catheters to the affected area
  • The insertion of a small wire tube (stent) to help clear and widen the affected arteries
  • Surgical removal of the plaque blocking the arteries