Carotid Artery Endarterectomy
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Reasons for Procedure
- Damage to the carotid artery
- High blood pressure or low blood pressure
- Nerve injury in the neck
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Blood and urine tests
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)—a test that records the heart's activity by measuring electrical currents through the heart muscle
- Arteriogram—a type of x-ray in which a contrast material or dye is injected into the arteries to make them more visible
- Ultrasound—a test that uses sound waves to examine the carotid arteries
- Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) scan—a test that uses magnetic waves, along with a contrast agent, to make pictures of arteries
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Blood thinners
- General anesthesia—you will be asleep.
- Local anesthesia—the area will be numbed.
Description of the Procedure
Immediately After Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- Keep your neck straight. Keep the head of your bed elevated during recovery.
- Take medicines as prescribed by your doctor. Anticoagulants will help to prevent blood clots. Prescription and nonprescription pain relievers will help with any discomfort.
- Resume your daily activities as soon as you are able.
- Do not drive for three weeks after surgery or until your doctor says it is okay.
- Avoid vigorous exercise for six weeks after surgery.
- Make dietary changes to help prevent a return of plaque build-up. Eat a diet low in saturated fat. Make sure your diet is high in fruits, vegetables, grains, and fish. You may want to see a registered dietitian for help in making these changes.
- Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
- Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions .
Call Your Doctor
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge at the incision site
- Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medicines you were given after surgery, or which persist for more than two days after discharge from the hospital
- Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given
- Severe headaches, swelling in your neck, or other new symptoms
- Cough, shortness of breath, chest pain
- Memory loss
- Drooping facial muscles
- Difficulty with speech, vision, or with moving
- Arm pain
- Extreme sweatiness
- Lightheadedness or fainting
American Heart Association http://www.heart.org
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke http://www.ninds.nih.gov
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://www.heartandstroke.com
Stroke treatments. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/AboutStroke/Treatment/Stroke-Treatments%5FUCM%5F310892%5FArticle.jsp. Updated November 21, 2012. Accessed May 6, 2013
Carotid Endarterectomy. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/endarterectomy/vs%5Fcarotid%5Fendarterectomy%5Foverview.aspx. Updated June 2011. Accessed May 6, 2013.
Ederle J, Brown MM. Managing carotid stenosis: carotid endarterectomy and stenting. Minerva Med. 2008 Oct;99(5):483-8.
Questions and answers about carotid endarterectomy. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/stroke/carotid%5Fendarterectomy%5Fbackgrounder.htm. Updated July 5, 2012. Accessed May 6, 2013.
6/2/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/ : Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.
- Reviewer: Michael J. Fucci, DO
- Review Date: 12/2013 -
- Update Date: 01/14/2014 -