Intermountain Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center

(801) 507-4701Map5121 S. Cottonwood StreetMurray, UT 84107

Overview of Carotid Artery Disease

The carotid arteries are the major arteries in your neck that supply your brain with blood. Carotid artery disease occurs when these arteries become narrowed or blocked with a substance called plaque. This condition can cause a stroke if the plaque prompts a blood clot to form that blocks the artery, stopping the flow of blood to the brain.

Symptoms. Unfortunately, the first symptom of carotid artery disease may be a stroke. However, people with carotid artery disease sometimes experience stroke-like attacks called Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs), which last for a few minutes to an hour and can involve one or more of these symptoms:

Don't ignore these symptoms, even if they go away quickly - see a doctor. A TIA is a warning sign of carotid artery disease and a possible stroke in the future.

Causes. Carotid artery disease is caused by hardened or clogged arteries (a condition also called atherosclerosis). Factors that lead to hardened arteries include smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, aging, diabetes, or a family history of the condition.

Illustration of carotid arteriesThe carotid arteries are the major arteries in your neck that supply your brain with blood. Carotid artery disease occurs when these arteries become narrowed or blocked.
 

Diagnostic Tests for Carotid Artery Disease

  • Carotid Angiogram

    A carotid angiogram is an x-ray imaging procedure used to detect the presence of narrowing or blockage (atherosclerosis) in the carotid arteries.

  • Peripheral Vascular Studies

    A Peripheral Vascular Study (PVS) is an ultrasound exam that screens for problems in the vessels of the abdomen, neck, legs and arms.

Treatments for Carotid Artery Disease

Your doctor will discuss your treatment options with you. Possible treatments for this condition include:

  • Carotid Endarterectomy

    Carotid endarterectomy is a surgery that removes material blocking a carotid artery.

  • Stent Placement

    Stent placement is a procedure where a small metal coil or tube is inserted into a narrowed artery to hold it open.

Services and Programs

Services and programs at Intermountain Heart Institute for patients with carotid artery disease

  • Peripheral Vascular Disease Program

    The Vascular Disease Program focuses on the care of patients with Vascular Disease, which includes aortic aneurysm, peripheral artery disease, and deep vein thrombosis.

Research in Carotid Artery Disease

The Heart Institute currently has one or more clinical trials that are enrolling patients with Carotid Artery Disease. Learn more.

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