Minimally invasive technology temporarily reverses brain blood flow, treats carotid artery disease

Recently, a patient at Baton Rouge General was among the first in the country to benefit from a new stroke prevention procedure. Dr. Vince Weaver, a vascular surgeon with Baton Rouge Vascular Specialty Center, is the first physician in South Louisiana and the only physician in Baton Rouge to perform a new, minimally invasive procedure that reverses the blood flow through the brain to divert blood clots and plaque away from the brain to prevent blockage and stroke.

“Strokes can be tragic and life-altering, and I’m thrilled to be able to offer such an important new option in the fight against them,” said Dr. Weaver. “TCAR is particularly suited for the large portion of patients we see who are at higher risk of complications from other traditional procedures. Because of the TCAR procedure’s low stroke risk, we think it has the potential to become the standard of care for all patients.”

In this new minimally invasive procedure, called TransCarotid Artery Revascularization or TCAR, through a small incision at the base of the neck, physicians temporarily reverse the blood flow in the carotid artery prior to placing a stent in one of the patient’s neck arteries to prevent blockage from clogging arteries and potentially leading to stroke.

“TCAR is able to provide patients with the safest possible treatment option for patients with carotid artery disease,” said Dr. Weaver.

Before this procedure, the main treatment option for high risk patients with blocked carotid arteries was open surgery, which increases risk of stroke, heart attack, and cranial nerve injuries that can cause issues with swallowing, speaking, and sensation in the face. The alternate procedure for patients with previous neck surgery, difficult anatomy or radiation treatment has an even higher risk of stroke.

In addition to lower risk, patients can also expect a faster and less painful recovery with TCAR. Dr. Weaver said, “The hour-long surgery went smoothly, and we expect TCAR patients to be discharged from the hospital the morning after surgery.”

Every year, 15 million people worldwide suffer from strokes. Nearly six million die and another five million are left permanently disabled. Stroke is the second leading cause of disability worldwide, and is the number four cause of death in Louisianians each year. Carotid artery disease is estimated to be the source of stroke in up to a third of cases.

To learn more about stroke prevention and the TCAR procedure, register at brgeneral.org for a free lunch seminar at BRG on September 5.

Contributed Report