Surgery for a Carotid Artery Blockage

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health, Other Conditions, Q&As
Last Reviewed 03/27/2014

Carotid artery bypass surgery, like coronary bypass surgery, is essential if you are experiencing certain symptoms of carotid artery blockage.

Surgery for a Carotid Artery Blockage Transcript

Dr. Sinatra: An e-letter subscriber writes: I have a carotid blockage and I am symptomatic, and my doctor wants me to have a bypass of my carotid artery. What should I do?

Very good question. The thing I would ask you: Well, you're symptomatic? What do you mean by symptomatic? Now, if you have symptoms like a TIA, like if you have weakness of your arms, if you had speech problems that lasted only for a seconds, or if you didn't know where you were, or if you had dizziness, then I'd say that's a problem. Even a worse problem is suppose you were seeing funny lights or what we call, "fortification phenomena," or if you had, like a cobweb in front of your eyes. To me, that's an ominous sign that this could be a forerunner of a serious stroke.

So, if you're symptomatic and, if you have a blockage greater than 70 percent of that carotid artery, I say, go for the surgery and protect yourself. This is where I'm a conventional cardiologist. When you have a high grade blockage greater than 70 percent by ultrasound with symptoms at the same time, have the surgery.

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