What is carotid artery disease?

Like the blood vessels of the heart (coronary arteries), the carotid arteries also develop atherosclerosis, the build-up of fat and cholesterol deposits, called plaque, on the inside of the arteries. Over time, the build-up narrows the artery, decreases blood flow to the brain and can lead to a stroke. Read more about carotid artery disease.

What is carotid angiography?

Carotid Artery Anatomy with Angiography

Carotid Artery Anatomy with Angiography

Carotid angiography, also called carotid angio or an arteriogram, is an invasive X-ray imaging procedure used to detect the presence of narrowing or blockage (atherosclerosis) in the carotid arteries and determine your risk for future stroke.

Carotid angiography may be performed when carotid artery disease is suspected, based on the results of other tests, such as a carotid duplex ultrasound, computed tomography angiogram (CTA) or magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA).

What is carotid angioplasty and stenting?

Carotid angioplasty is a non-surgical procedure performed after the diagnostic angiogram. The carotid angioplasty procedure can be performed the same day as the diagnostic angiogram or days or weeks after the angiogram.

During angioplasty, a balloon catheter is guided to the area of the blockage or narrowing. When the balloon is inflated, the fatty plaque or blockage is compressed against the artery walls to improve blood flow.

During the angioplasty procedure, a carotid stent (a small, metal mesh tube) is placed inside the carotid artery at the site of the blockage and provides support to keep the artery open.

For patients who meet certain eligibility criteria, carotid stenting offers a less invasive approach than carotid endarterectomy, the traditional surgical treatment for carotid artery blockages. Carotid stenting can be performed while the patient is awake, reducing recovery time.