UNC Vascular Specialties Services
The build-up of plaque in the major arteries of the neck is responsible for 30 percent of strokes. With stroke being the third-leading cause of death in the U.S., diagnosis and intervention is essential for prevention.
At UNC, each patient with carotid artery disease is evaluated by teams of multi-disciplinary specialists to determine the best management. Sometimes this involves lifestyle modifications and medical therapy. Other times, an intervention is advised. Possible interventions include the placement of a stent to open a narrowed carotid artery, or alternatively, a small incision can be made in the neck and the plaque removed (carotid endarterectomy).
Because UNC has specialists certified in both procedures, collaboration is important in identifying which therapy would be best suited for each individual patient.
Carotid artery disease is diagnosed with non-invasive imaging techniques at UNC, including duplex ultrasound, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and CT (computed tomography) angiography, as well as traditional cerebral angiography.