Carotid arteries are the vessels that supply majority of the blood to the brain, with the rest being supplied by the vertebral arteries. Diseases affecting the carotid arteries occur most commonly in the neck, near the division of this artery into its branches to the face and the brain. Atherosclerotic Plaques occurring in the carotid artery can rupture/break and cause stroke, which can be minor or major. The major causes for these plaques to develop are smoking, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Plaques causing >70% reduction in the lumen of the carotid arteries are best removed.
The best method of treatment of carotid artery stenosis is to remove the plaque surgically, through a procedure known as Carotid Endarterectomy (CEA). This is performed under Local or general anaesthesia and ensures the best long term results. It is considered as the gold standard procedure of carotid stenosis.
The other method of treatment is Carotid artery Stenting (CAS), which involves placing a stent in the stenosed carotid artery. The procedure is performed extremely delicately, and is best performed be vascular interventionalists or neuro-interventionalsists.
Patients are normally discharged within 48-72hrs of the procedure.