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If this is a medical emergency, please dial 911. Or go to the nearest qualified emergency room.

Carotid Artery Disease

Carotid artery disease (also known as carotid stenosis) occurs when there is a narrowing of the carotid arteries that is usually caused by a buildup of fatty substances and cholesterol. Carotid artery disease results in decreased blood flow to the brain, which can increase your risk for stroke. If you smoke, have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, it's even more important to make sure your carotid arteries are clear.

You may experience no symptoms of carotid artery disease. Fatty substances can build up over time without warning signs, until you have a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or a stroke.

Carotid Artery Disease Risk Factors

If you or a loved one have two or more of the risk factors below, register for a free vascular screening to determine your carotid artery disease risk.

If you or a loved one have two or more risk factors, contact our Spectrum Health Vascular Team for a free screening to determine your carotid artery disease risk.

  • Age of 60 or older
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • History of smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • Family history of atherosclerosis (buildup of fat in the artery walls)

How your carotid artery disease is treated depends on how severely the artery (one or both) is blocked. Carotid artery disease is caused by plaque buildup, just like heart disease or peripheral vascular disease. Treatment is essential, since the carotid arteries carry blood to your brain.


Treatments We Provide

Our fellowship-trained and board-certified physicians provide comprehensive vascular care in a patient-centered environment. The team of highly skilled physicians, nurses, advanced practice providers and support staff focuses on superior quality and exceptional patient experiences. Our accomplished vascular team combines experience and advanced technologies to achieve clinical excellence, from testing and diagnosis to treatment and rehabilitation.

Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (Angioplasty/Stent Placement)

An angioplasty is a less invasive procedure that opens a clogged artery with a small balloon. This can be done through the wrist (radial) or the groin (femoral) artery. Typically this procedure includes the placement of stents.

Carotid Endarectomy

This surgery removes plaque and clots from the carotid arteries.

Stent Placement

A small mesh tube is surgically placed in the blood vessel or artery to keep it open for blood flow. Some stents are embedded with drugs to offer further protection against clogging. Some heart conditions call for the use of bare metal stents.

Cardiac Rehabilitation

Spectrum Health offers the area’s largest and most comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation program for patients who have recently experienced a major cardiovascular episode or treatment.