When you hear from your doctor that you have a heart condition, it is okay to feel scared, confused, and a bit lost. One of the most common heart conditions we encounter at Brookhaven Heart is carotid artery stenosis. This condition involves the narrowing of the large arteries in the neck that carry blood to your head, brain, and face. If not treated properly, this condition can lead to stroke. It is important that you have all the information and resources available to make the right treatment decision. Here is a bit about carotid stenosis and different treatment options available to you.
How Is Carotid Stenosis Diagnosed?
If you start having symptoms of carotid stenosis such as dizziness, unexpected fainting, blurred vision, or stroke, your doctor will likely have you evaluated. The diagnosis of carotid stenosis is primarily done first through ultrasound and possibly also through more invasive tests. A few ways doctors typically diagnose carotid stenosis are…
- Carotid Ultrasound- Using a Doppler ultrasound, your doctor will be able to see the real-time pictures of the arteries and will be able to see the narrowing or blockages in your arteries.
- CT Scan- This scan uses a highly powerful device to see arteries in your body. This test may be ordered with or without dye.
- Cerebral Angiography- This is a slightly more invasive test compared to the ultrasound or CT scan. A small catheter is placed in the artery and doctors will be able to get vivid and detailed pictures of the blockage.
Treatment Options for Carotid Stenosis
While mild cases may be treated with lifestyle changes and medication, severe cases of stenosis may require surgical intervention. In certain cases, placing a stent in the artery to hold it open is appropriate. In more extreme cases, a surgeon will remove plaque, evaluate the artery’s health, and remove portions that are excessively damaged.
If you have questions regarding carotid stenosis, contact our office. Call Brookhaven Heart at 631.654.3278 for more information or to schedule your appointment with our heart specialists.