PROVIDENCE, R.I. (January 26, 2021) — Even as a huge spotlight remains on COVID-19, every 40 seconds someone in the United States suffers a stroke which can lead to debilitation or death. However, fears about the pandemic have kept many patients from seeking the life-saving medical attention they need to treat a major cause of stroke – carotid disease.
“It’s normal for patients to be concerned about their safety. But delaying necessary treatment could potentially be more dangerous than the virus. With COVID-19, the fear is many carotid artery disease cases are going undiagnosed and untreated,” said Brown Surgical Associates’ Dr. Peter Soden. “Minimally invasive procedures like the TCAR allow patients to get the treatment they need, while drastically reducing the time they spend in the hospital or post-op care facilities. The shorter hospital stay was a great feature before, but post-COVID, it’s one that can really put people at ease.”
TCAR – or Transcarotid Artery Revascularization – is a clinically proven, minimally invasive, and safe approach for high surgical risk patients who need carotid artery treatment. Brown Surgical Associates became one of the pioneers of TCAR three years ago when in June 2017, Dr. Jeffrey M. Slaiby became the first in Rhode Island and one of the first in the entire Northeast to treat carotid artery disease and prevent future strokes with the cutting-edge procedure. Carotid artery disease is a form of atherosclerosis, or a buildup of plaque, in the two main arteries in the neck that supply oxygen-rich blood to the brain. If left untreated, carotid artery disease can often lead to stroke. In fact, it is estimated to be the source of stroke in up to a third of cases, with 427,000 new diagnoses of the disease made every year in the U.S. alone.
Some of the benefits of TCAR include:
- Less time in the OR
- Less cranial nerve injury
- Less clamp time
- Less myocardial infarction
- Less time in the hospital
- Local, not general, anesthesia
- Smaller, less visible scars
TCAR is unique in that blood flow is temporarily reversed during the procedure so that any small bits of plaque that may break off are diverted away from the brain, preventing a stroke from happening. A stent is then placed inside the artery to stabilize the plaque, minimizing the risk of a future stroke.
“TCAR is a great option in the fight against stroke, and is particularly suited for the large portion of patients we see who are at higher risk of complications from carotid surgery due to age, anatomy, or other medical conditions,” said Dr. Soden. “Because of its low stroke risk and faster patient recovery, I believe TCAR represents the future of carotid repair.”
Signs of Stroke & Carotid Artery Disease
You should be screened for carotid artery disease if you have:
- Weakness, numbness, tingling, or paralysis of the arm, leg, or face on one side of your body
- Trouble swallowing
- Loss of eyesight or blurry eyesight in one eye
- Dizziness, confusion, fainting, or coma
- Unexplained slurred or garbled speech
If you experience the following signs of a stroke, remember to act FAST:
Time to Call 911
About Peter Soden, MD
Dr. Peter Soden is a dedicated and compassionate clinician focused on delivering high-quality care clinically and academically. He is fellowship-trained in vascular surgery. Dr. Soden’s clinical interests include carotid, aortic, and peripheral arterial disease, as well as venous disease. He has presented and published his scientific work at numerous national meetings and peer-reviewed journals.