People’s day-to-day activities have drastically changed to safeguard themselves from the pandemic virus, COVID-19. Still, there is one thing people should not avoid — delaying care for life-threatening conditions such as carotid artery disease, which may lead to a stroke.
Strokes still happen during a pandemic. In fact, every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a stroke. Worldwide, nearly 5 million people die from a stroke, and another 5 million are left permanently disabled every year. Yet there was a 40% decline in patients seeking urgent or emergent care since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even with the fear of COVID-19, it is crucial to get care as soon as possible to prevent the chance of a future stroke. With up to one-third of strokes caused by carotid artery disease, Evansville Surgical Associates offers patients minimally invasive options such as TransCarotid Artery Revascularization (TCAR). It helps prevent future strokes with a faster recovery time.
Taking Action to Prevent Stroke in Evansville
It’s important that you take action to protect yourself once you have been diagnosed with carotid artery disease. Even during a pandemic, you should seek care immediately so that you don’t increase your risk of having a stroke.
At Evansville Surgical Associates, we do everything we can to make you feel safe as you undergo surgery. Putting off treatment will only increase your risk of stroke, and time is of the essence. With TCAR, you will receive treatment that is much easier on the body compared to other procedures while also providing faster recovery.
TCAR is ideal for certain patients who may be considered too high risk for traditional forms of surgery. As a minimally invasive treatment, you will spend less time in the hospital and leave with a much smaller scar compared to open surgery.
Click here to learn more about the difference between minimally invasive and open surgery!
What is TCAR?
10 to 20% of strokes are caused by carotid artery disease, and our team of surgeons uses different approaches to prevent them such as TCAR. This method allows them to place a stent in the carotid artery while temporarily reversing blood flow in the brain. This helps to reduce your risk of having a stroke during the procedure itself, increasing its safety.
Once blood flow has been reversed, a stent is placed in the carotid artery to hold it open. This allows blood to flow freely through the artery without having to worry about any blockages preventing it from reaching your brain. With blood flowing freely through your arteries, to your brain, and back through your body, your risk of having a stroke is greatly reduced.
Designed in Sunnyvale, CA, by Silk Road Medical, the TCAR procedure includes the ENROUTE Transcarotid Neuroprotection (NPS) and Stent System. It’s the first device ever designed and approved by the FDA for TCAR.
Over 40,000 TCAR procedures have been performed around the globe in commercial use as well as clinical trials. This has provided ample opportunities for studies to be performed and data to be collected. At Evansville Surgical Associates, we are proud to provide such a powerful and vetted procedure to our patients in the tri-state area.
For more on the connection between carotid artery disease and stroke, click here!
Stroke Treatment Before TCAR
Before TCAR was developed, the main preventative treatment option for severe carotid artery disease was an open surgical procedure called carotid endarterectomy (CEA). CEA removes plaque from inside the carotid artery to restore normal blood flow to the brain. The large incision leaves a visible scar the length of the neck and carries increased risks of surgical complications.
These complications include:
- Heart attack
- Cranial nerve injuries
Cranial nerve injuries come with their own possible complications, including:
- Trouble swallowing
- Trouble speaking
- Strange sensations in the face
Other Tips for Preventing a Stroke
While a TCAR procedure may eventually be necessary, there are steps you can start taking today to reduce your risk of having a stroke. This includes:
- Quitting tobacco products
- Eating a healthy diet
- Exercising regularly
- Managing your diabetes
- Treating high blood pressure and cholesterol
- Getting screened for carotid artery disease
It’s also important not to ignore mini-strokes. Also known as transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), they can cause slurred speech, vision loss, and physical weakness. While they get better within 24 hours, people who experience them are at a much higher risk of having a stroke. TIA is a sign that you need to seek medical attention immediately to prevent having a full stroke later on.
Have you been diagnosed with carotid artery disease and are in need of a TCAR procedure? Contact us today to schedule your appointment!
TCAR is ideal for treating carotid artery disease and for helping prevent a future stroke. As a minimally invasive procedure, it requires less time in the hospital, speeds up recovery, and it leaves a smaller scar. You can also help lower your risk of stroke by making healthier life choices such as quitting smoking, eating better, and being screened for carotid artery disease.
Evansville Surgical Associates has been providing comprehensive and compassionate surgical care for over 50 years. Call us at (812) 424-8231 or (800) 264-8231. We are available from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm if you would like to schedule an appointment.