Baptist Health Louisville: Preventing Stroke Using TCAR
Vascular surgeon Brad Thomas, MD, explains how transcarotid revascularization, TCAR, reverses blood flow in the artery, protecting the brain from a stroke while surgeons implant a stent.
Preventing Stroke Using TCAR HealthTalks Transcript
Brad Thomas, MD
Carotid artery disease is the build-up of plaque formation in the neck arteries. It can be because of smoking, primarily, but it can also be because of conditions like high cholesterol. The problem with carotid artery disease is that it increases your risk of having a stroke. TCAR uses a neuroprotection system, and that’s called reversal of flow. And so, what TCAR does is it temporarily reverses the flow in the artery that we’re working on. So, when we’re crossing the lesion using a balloon on this friable, diseased artery and putting a stent to try to stabilize plaque if the flow is going up toward the brain, that’s a potential time when a stroke can happen. Because that’s what a stroke is, it’s clot or pieces of plaque that go up to the brain and then block off circulation to it. When you reverse the flow, there’s a device that actually sits outside of the body and pumps the blood back down and runs it through a filter, so that if anything does break off — before we ever attack the lesion and start to work on it — we can see that the flow is reversing. It’s amazing sometimes how, after the procedure, when we go and open up this filter, we can see the plaque and debris that would’ve otherwise gone up toward the head.
TCAR is an important new weapon in the fight against stroke. We want to do everything we can to reduce the risk of stroke in someone and improve the quality of their life.
With stroke being the leading cause of serious, long-term disability, learn how to lower your risk by identifying your risk factors. Start by taking the free assessment and discussing the results with your family and your doctor.