Reading Hospital is the first hospital in the region to treat carotid artery disease and prevent future strokes using a new procedure called TransCarotid Artery Revascularization (TCAR). TCAR is a clinically proven, minimally invasive and safe approach for high-risk surgical patients who need carotid artery treatment.
Carotid artery disease is a form of atherosclerosis, or a buildup of plaque, in the artery in the neck that carries blood to the brain. If left untreated, carotid artery disease can lead to stroke. About 400,000 new diagnoses of the disease are made every year in the United States alone.
TCAR is unique in that blood flow is temporarily reversed during the procedure so that any small bits of plaque that may break off during surgery are diverted away from the brain, preventing a stroke. A stent is then placed inside the artery to stabilize the plaque, minimizing the risk of a future stroke.
Traditional treatment options, including open surgery with a large incision in the neck, may effectively treat the blockage but can pose more risks for certain patients. TCAR is performed in less than half the time of open surgery, which limits stress on the heart and reduces the risk of the patient having a stroke or heart attack during or after surgery. Since it is minimally invasive, patients who undergo the TCAR procedure recover more quickly and may go home the next day with less pain, smaller scars and fewer complications. TCAR patients can expect to return to full and productive lives and have a significantly reduced risk of stroke in the future.