The carotid arteries supply blood to each side of the brain and are a common source of strokes. Symptoms include weakness or numbness on one side of the body, loss of coordination, blindness in one eye, difficulty speaking, memory loss, dizziness or passing out. There may be no symptoms. The patient may or may not have some or all of the symptoms listed above. Symptoms can last for minutes to hours, but then gradually resolve. Mini-strokes are often forerunners of permanent strokes. Medical management includes drugs to prevent blood clotting. However this is frequently ineffective when the blockage reaches a certain level of narrowing (70% or greater).
A carotid endarterectomy is a vascular operation in which the surgeon opens the carotid artery in the neck and removes the plaque, thus, relieving the blockage. It has a 95, or better, percent success rate and is performed on a routine basis by the surgeons at Vascular Specialists of Mobile, P.C. The operation requires an overnight stay at the hospital.