Transcarotid Artery Revascularization (TCAR)

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. Severe cases 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 and carries the risk of complications like nerve damage, heart attack and stroke. But now, the heart and vascular specialists at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital and SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital - Madison 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.

Preventing the risks associated with stroke is important. Every year, 15 million people worldwide suffer a stroke. Nearly six million die and another five million are left permanently disabled. Carotid artery disease is estimated to be the source of stroke in up to a third of cases, and there are 400,000 new diagnoses of carotid artery disease made every year in the United States alone.

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 Saint Louis University Hospital or SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital - Madison to learn more about this procedure and whether it might be right for you.

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