Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Can My Carotid Artery Blockage Reverse on Its Own?

Thursday, 10 June 2010 08:46 AM

Question: I have a blockage of the right carotid (2.7-3.1) artery. Should I have an endarterectomy or is it possible the blockage will reverse on its own?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

You will be waiting a long time for the right carotid to reverse the existing stenosis. You will probably need to consider intervention unless you wish to wait until it occludes (blocks) itself. Slow occlusion of a carotid usually causes no symptoms due to collateral circulation that develops as the occlusion slowly progresses, but rapid occlusion or sudden blocking of a narrowed carotid will often lead to a sudden, large stroke that may not be reversible.

Stents are available, and some centers will perform successful angioplasty on selected patients, but most patients still receive endarterectomy (surgical clearing of blockage) to correct severe carotid artery stenosis of over 70 to 75 percent.

I would advise you to have your cardiac condition checked by your cardiologist before agreeing to your carotid surgery. Coronary artery disease and carotid artery stenosis are commonly seen together. Until you decide what to do, be sure your doctor has placed you on medicine to protect you from your increased risk for stroke. Wish you the best!

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