Midwest Aortic & Vascular Institute offers innovative procedure to open arteries
Kansas City, MO
08/07/2018 02:13 PM
Paul Butler is no stranger to carotid artery disease or endarterectomy, the procedure that opens blockages in the neck caused by accumulated plaque in the artery. He’d undergone the surgery more than 12 years ago, and afterward regularly monitored his condition under a doctor’s care.
So when his doctor recently told him his artery needed to be revascularized, Paul was happy to learn he was a candidate for an innovative new procedure offered locally only through surgeons at Midwest Aortic & Vascular Institute.
Typical treatment is carotid endarterectomy where an incision is made in neck to directly remove plaque from the artery. Carotid stenting and transfemoral stenting can also be used when a patient’s risk is too high to undergo carotid endarterectomy. While complications are rare, the procedure – like any surgery – carries a small risk of stroke if a piece of plaque breaks off and travels to the brain.
The new procedure used by surgeons at MAVI – TransCarotid Artery Revascularization (TCAR) - is designed to access the carotid arteries through an incision in the neck instead of the groin and uses a blood flow reversal system to capture and divert pieces of the blockage dislodged during the procedure from potentially traveling to the brain, causing a stroke.
“When Dr. Kujath explained the new procedure, I felt a little more comfortable going into it, knowing there was reduced risk involved,” said Paul. “It was something I was always a little worried about, the risk of stroke. I have a lot of faith in Dr. Kujath, so it was okay.”
According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, more than half of the strokes occurring in the United States each year are caused by carotid artery disease. A person with the disease may not experience any signs or symptoms until a stroke occurs. The carotid arteries are two large blood vessels on either side of the neck that supply oxygenated blood to the brain. Cholesterol or fatty substances can narrow one or both of the carotid arteries, causing carotid artery disease. If a piece of plaque breaks off, it can travel to arteries in the brain and cut off blood flow, resulting in a stroke.
The TCAR device captures debris by temporarily shunting blood flowing through the narrowed section of the artery away from the brain and into a filtering system outside the body to protect the brain from plaque fragments that may break loose during the procedure. Blood is then returned to the body though a vein in the leg. Because the carotid artery branches into many interconnected smaller arteries, the brain still receives oxygenated blood during the procedure.
Patients are treated in the hospital under general anesthesia and usually are discharged after a one-night stay. The procedure takes less time, recovery is faster and there’s less chance for complications.
In Paul’s case, he spent the night at North Kansas City Hospital, had a quick and uneventful recovery, and is back at work at his job at Worlds of Fun as a foreman in the electronics department.
“Not everyone is a candidate for TCAR,” said vascular surgeon Scott Kujath, M.D. “Each patient is evaluated on an individual basis.”
Anyone considered for traditional carotid endarterectomy is a potential candidate for TCAR, if they meet criteria. For patients whose anatomy did not permit access to the carotid arteries through the groin, TCAR is a possible life-saving treatment option.
“It’s an exciting new technology and another tool in our toolbox to treat carotid artery disease,” said Dr. Kujath.
Midwest Aortic & Vascular Institute physicians diagnose and treat a wide variety of vascular disorders, from complex aortic aneurysms to varicose veins. Recognized for their innovative surgical techniques, commitment to education and awareness, and research to advance the options in treatments, its surgeons work as part of a comprehensive team of specialists to deliver the highest quality care. Offices are located in North Kansas City, Mo., Liberty, Independence and Lee’s Summit, and surgeons serve on the medical staffs of numerous regional area hospitals. For more information visit mavi.life.