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NECK ARTERY BLOCKAGE

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO OPEN CLOGGED ARTERIES IN THE NECK?  ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

The carotid arteries are the big blood vessels that supply the head with blood.  Sometimes they become clogged, putting someone at risk for stroke, and must be reopened.  The best way to do that is a subject of hot debate, with a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine seeming to conclude that the surgery  known as carotid endarterectomy, was best.  Alexander Coon, a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins, comments.

COON: Carotid endarterectomy remains in most people’s eyes the gold standard treatment.  It’s a very quick surgery that has been done thousands of times throughout the United States and has proven effective in randomized trials.  Although it’s the gold standard there are up and coming new technologies.  Those are mainly on the endovascular front.  I think sometimes people read in trials and newspaper things about new technologies but it’s important that you find and tailor the treatment to each patient.  Some patients need to have endovascular treatment.  Some can have surgery, and it’s just a matter of meeting with those patients and finding out what is most important to them.   :32

Coon says approaches through the blood vessel, called endovascular surgery, are becoming more available.   At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.


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