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Transcarotid Artery Revascularization (TCAR)

Advanced Treatment for Carotid Artery Disease

The carotid arteries provide blood flow to the brain. In patients with carotid artery disease, these arteries become narrowed or blocked by plaque, which increases the risk of stroke. In fact, carotid artery disease is estimated to be the source of stroke in up to a third of cases.

Severe cases of carotid artery disease have typically been treated with a surgery called carotid endarterectomy (CEA) to remove the plaque and restore blood flow to the brain. This open procedure is performed through an incision in the neck. But now, the heart and vascular specialists at SSM Health offer a minimally-invasive alternative called Transcarotid Artery Revascularization, or TCAR.

About the Procedure

The TCAR procedure is a clinically proven, minimally-invasive alternative to carotid endarterectomy (CEA). TCAR utilizes an FDA-approved neuroprotection system that is delivered directly into the common carotid artery and temporarily reverses blood flow in the carotid artery during stent placement to prevent dangerous bits of plaque from dislodging and traveling to the brain and causing a stroke.

Who is Eligible for TCAR?

TCAR is particularly well suited for patients with carotid artery disease who are at higher risk of complications from CEA due to age, other medical conditions, or anatomic issues.

Prior to TCAR, the main treatment option for severe carotid artery disease was CEA. Compared to CEA, TCAR leaves a smaller visible scar on the neck for the patient and carries a lower risk of surgical complications including bleeding, infection, heart attack, and cranial nerve injuries that can cause issues with swallowing, speaking, and sensation in the face.

Contact a heart and vascular specialist at SSM Health to learn more about this procedure and whether it might be right for you.

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