July 22, 2019
Portsmouth, NH — Portsmouth Regional Hospital is the first on the Seacoast to treat carotid artery disease and prevent future strokes using a new procedure called TransCarotid Artery Revascularization (TCAR). TCAR (tee-kahr) is a clinically proven, minimally invasive and safe approach for patients who are at high risk for surgery and need carotid artery treatment.
Carotid artery disease is a form of atherosclerosis, or a buildup of plaque, in the two main arteries in the neck that supply oxygen-rich blood to the brain. If left untreated, carotid artery disease can often lead to stroke; it is estimated to be the source of stroke in up to a third of cases, with 400,000 new diagnoses of the disease made every year in the U.S. alone.
"TCAR is an important new option in the fight against stroke, and is particularly suited for the large portion of patients we see who are at higher risk of complications from carotid surgery due to age, anatomy, health history, or other medical conditions," said Jessica Wallaert, MD, Vascular Surgeon at Portsmouth Regional Hospital. "Because of its low stroke risk and faster patient recovery, I believe TCAR represents an important step forward in the treatment of carotid disease."
Prior to this intervention, the main treatment option for severe carotid artery disease was an open surgical procedure called carotid endarterectomy (CEA). CEA removes plaque from inside the carotid artery to restore normal blood flow to the brain, but the large incision leaves a visible scar the length of the neck and carries risks of surgical complications, including bleeding, infection, heart attack and cranial nerve injuries.
"TCAR is unique in that blood flow is temporarily reversed during the procedure so that any small bits of plaque that may break off are diverted away from the brain, preventing a stroke from happening. A stent is then placed inside the artery to stabilize the plaque, minimizing the risk of a future stroke," stated Syed Peeran, MD, Vascular Surgeon at Portsmouth Regional Hospital.