Nearly 700,000 people experience a stroke each year in the United States. Of those, nearly 200,000 are repeat strokes. A stroke occurs when the blood flow to your brain is interrupted. Your brain gets most of its blood supply through large arteries on each side of the neck called carotid arteries. The most common cause of a stroke is the accumulation of plaque in your carotid arteries, which can narrow or block the arteries. When enough plaque has built up in the carotid arteries to interfere with the flow of blood to the brain, a person is said to have carotid artery disease.
If you have carotid artery disease or if you are at risk for stroke, the specialists at Lenox Hill Heart and Vascular Institute can help. Using the most advanced procedures and the latest technology, the Stroke Team takes immediate action to see that you receive the highest quality treatment available. Treatments for stroke may include clot-busting medications delivered through catheters to the blocked area, the insertion of a small wire tube, called a stent, to help clear and widen your arteries, or the surgical removal of the plaque blocking your arteries.
As with all of the Lenox Hill Heart and Vascular Institute's treatment programs, the Stroke Team takes a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to your treatment. At Lenox Hill Heart and Vascular Institute, you will be seen by a group of highly skilled and seasoned professionals, including vascular specialists, neuroradiology specialists, neurologists, interventional cardiologists, and interventional radiologists. Our physicians are internationally recognized as leaders in the field of carotid stenting and carotid endarterectomy. Many of the physicians are frequent lecturers on national and international symposia.
Lenox Hill Heart and Vascular Institute is home to some of the pioneers in the area of carotid stenting. Carotid stenting is an endovascular procedure, which means that it is a non-surgical procedure in which a stent is placed in the carotid artery in your neck through a tube called a catheter. Stenting is used to reopen arteries that have become blocked by plaque, a leading cause of stroke.
Dr. Vitek, Dr. Iyer, and Dr. Roubin ere instrumental in the development and FDA-approval of carotid stenting. Along with Dr. Green, this team has performed more than 2,000 carotid stenting procedures, which represents the largest experience with this technique in the United States. The expertise of this group, supported by Drs. Soffer, Pamoukian, Rosen, and Wilentz, allows them to produce safe and effective outcomes from carotid stenting unequalled in other centers.
The 40 years of neuroradiology experience that Dr. Vitek brings to the group has allowed the heart and vascular institute to maintain unique standards of safety with respect to cerebral angiography, a procedure that is pivotal to a safe and effective carotid stent procedure.
The Lenox Hill Heart and Vascular Institute teams are not limited to carotid stenting. This group has unique expertise in treating blockages, dissections, and other abnormalities in all of the major brachiocephalic arteries, including the subclavian, the vertebral, the common carotids, and the innominate arteries.
If patients are not eligible for carotid stenting, Lenox Hill Heart and Vascular Institute's Vascular Surgery Team can provide surgical treatments. Our surgeons are nationally recognized leaders in the field of carotid surgery and have operative risks of less than 1 percent.
Our outcomes are consistent with the outcome recommendations of the Ad Hoc committee of the American Heart Association for the treatment of extracranial carotid artery disease. The overall work from Lenox Hill Heart and Vascular Institute shows that death or disabling stroke occur in less than 1 percent of our carotid stenting patients, while only 3 percent of our patients experience any adverse events during or following the procedure. These excellent outcomes allow the physicians at Lenox Hill Heart and Vascular Institute to offer stenting as an option for patients who may have severe blockages but not experience any symptoms.
If you are experiencing symptoms of a stroke, you should call 911 immediately. A stroke can cause brain damage within minutes. Stroke symptoms may include:
- Partial loss of vision in one eye;
- Weakness, tingling, or numbness in one arm and/or leg;
- Temporary loss of control of movement in one arm and/or leg;
- Inability to pronounce words or speak clearly;
- Unsteadiness, vertigo, double vision, or sudden falls;
- Difficulty swallowing;
- Temporary memory loss;
- Loss of balance;
- Personality or mood changes;
- Drowsiness or loss of consciousness; and
- Uncontrollable eye movements or eye drooping.
Lifestyle changes and prevention
Lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of having a stroke. Certain factors that place you at risk for a stroke are uncontrollable, such as age. But by managing controllable factors, you may lower your chances of having a stroke or your chances of having a repeat stroke. These changes can include exercising, losing excess weight, or quitting smoking.
Lenox Hill Heart and Vascular Institute can help you reduce these risks. Speak with your physician about programs that can help you change these behaviors and increase your chances for a longer, healthier life.
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