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Preventing stroke: TCAR procedure treats carotid artery disease

Preventing stroke: TCAR procedure treats carotid artery disease (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A team of local health care providers are among the first in the country to use a new procedure to help stop a stroke.

The vascular team at the TriHealth Heart Institute showed off new technology that treats artery disease that builds up and blocks blood flow to your brain.

Dr. Brian Kuhn is part of a vascular team performing a procedure to open a blocked artery in the neck. It is commonly needed in many types of people.

“People who smoke, people who have high blood pressure, people who have high cholesterol, diabetes or a family history of blockages in their neck, a lot of times they are identified because of their risk factors,” said Dr. Kuhn.

Normally in the procedure, a team has to go up through the groin to open a blockage in the neck, but this team is doing something unique.

Dr. Kuhn’s team instead, is going in through the neck, and performing what's called a Transcarotid Artery Revascularization or “TCAR”.

“It allows us to place a tube in their neck through a very small incision through right above the collar bone, through that incision we place a tube in the artery and that allows us to temporarily reverse. The blood flow in their neck and in their brain,” said Dr. Kuhn.

By reversing the blood flow, plaque that breaks off can't enter the brain.

“[That] is what decreases your risk of having a stroke during the procedure,” said Dr. Kuhn.

Not only is this critical to survival, it makes a big difference in recovery and future quality of life.

“It’s less invasive than traditional surgery and that's appealing to me. They don't have to be put all the way to sleep for surgery, the recovery is faster, they don’t feel as tired after the procedure as they would after traditional surgery and this allows them to get back to work and be more functional and to do more of the things they really would like to do in life,” said Dr. Kuhn.

Dr. Kuhn says about two thirds of the patients that need traditional surgery are likely candidates for this new TCAR procedure.

This also can be performed in those who have already had a stroke to reduce the risk of a second one.

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