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TCAR Procedure

Background

Each year, 795,000 people in the US suffer a stroke, also known as a brain attack. Strokes occur when blood flow to your brain is cut off. 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. The carotid arteries extend from the main artery coming directly from your heart and supply oxygen-rich blood to the brain. When plaque builds up in the carotid arteries, they begin to narrow and slow down blood flow to the brain. Severe carotid artery disease can cause a stroke if the plaque fragments and small bits of plaque travel to the brain.

Procedure

For patients with carotid artery disease, Carotid Endarterectomy (CEA) has been the gold standard for treatment.  Now, there is a new, clinically proven alternative called Transcarotid Artery Revascularization. The TCAR procedure is performed through a small incision at the neckline just above the clavicle. This incision is much smaller than a typical CEA incision. The surgeon places a tube directly into the carotid artery and connects it to a system that will temporarily direct blood flow away from the brain, protecting against dangerous debris reaching the brain during the procedure. Blood flows through the system and any material will be captured in a filter outside the body. Filtered blood will then be returned through a second tube in the upper thigh. A carotid stent will be implanted to stabilize the plaque and prevent future strokes. After the stent is placed successfully, flow reversal is turned off and blood flow resumes in its normal direction.

Benefits

Some of the many benefits of TCAR can include:

  • A smaller incision and scarring.
  • The lowest stroke rate of clinical studies to date.
  • Temporary reversal of blood flow to divert dangerous debris away from the brain, preventing a procedural stroke.
  • The implanted stent in the carotid artery opens and stabilizes the narrowing artery to protect patients from future stroke risk.
  • Minimized procedure times.
  • Loose material from the artery is captured in a filter outside the body, protecting against plaque that may come loose during the procedure.

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