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Vascular Surgery

100 % carotid artery blockage

03/30/2009

Question:

My Mother-in-law has a 100% occluded carotid artery on her right side. She is 65 and with diabetes, high cholesterol & high blood pressure in otherwise good health, although has had several "episodes" (dumb arm, one eye clouded for a minute or so). She has been told that since the blockage is 100% it is standard procedure to NOT do the surgery. She was told that since the body is providing the blood flow from the left side there no need for operation. Should he get a second opinion? Why not open again that artery to have both working again? What about if the left side stop functioning? thank you.

Answer:

Hello. Typically a complete blockage of a carotid artery is not operated on. However, the symptoms of the eye blindness and weak arm need to be evaluated by a vascular surgeon to:

1) Assess that the carotid artery is truly completely occluded
2) If there is a need for an external carotid endarterectomy

Good luck.

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Response by:

Amy B Reed, MD Amy B Reed, MD
No longer associated