SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - There's a new procedure to deliver a stent into a blocked carotid artery at Willis-Knighton, it's an option for patients with carotid artery disease who are at a higher risk for surgery.
It's a new procedure, but doctors at Willis-Knighton are excited about the Trans Carotid Artery Revascularization procedure, or TCAR.
The carotid arteries supply blood to your head. Carotid artery disease can narrow your internal arteries, which may decrease blood flow to half of the brain.
"The real science behind it is we're lowering risk of stroke," said Dr. David Mull, a cardiac surgeon with Willis-Knighton.
TCAR is an option for people who are considered high-risk for the conventional procedure to clean the artery.
"They would set down to the carotid artery, interrupt its flow and then remove the plaque that's built up over the years that causes stroke," Dr. Mull said.
Most patients are able to go home the next day, with much less pain than typical surgery.
The whole goal is stroke prevention. The traditional procedure involves stenting, but during the procedure, plaque can flow downstream into the patient's brain causing a stroke.
With TCAR, the procedure involves basically detouring your blood and catching any debris to alleviate the risk of stroke.
"With the advent of TCAR, we can deploy a stent, but reverse the carotid artery flow, so now the flow is coming out and away from the brain rather than toward the brain," Dr. Mull said. "We divert the flow by reversing the carotid artery, or we divert that plaque or embolization or debris by reversing the flow and running it through a filter to catch the debris and running it back through a filter to catch the debris, and returning the blood back to the bloodstream via a femoral vein. So it's a shunt system."
Doctors at Willis-Knighton started using this procedure a few months ago, they've performed just a handful so far — but they're pleased. It's minimally invasive with a smaller incision, and it's a shorter procedure.
However, not every patient is a good candidate.
"That's based on their anatomy, based on the amount of disease they have in their artery, or the type of disease they have in their artery, and based on what their anesthesia risk is," said Dr. Mull.