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Carotid Artery Disease

What is Carotid Artery Disease?

The carotid arteries are located on either side of the neck and supply blood to the brain. Carotid artery disease is where these arteries become narrowed or blocked, preventing blood from reaching your brain. When adequate blood flow doesn’t reach the brain, it results in a stroke. In fact, about half of all strokes are caused by blockages in the carotid arteries, meaning that treating carotid artery disease can significantly reduce your risk of stroke.

Symptoms and Risk Factors

Symptoms of carotid artery disease typically only manifest in later stages. In some cases, the first sign that you have carotid artery disease may be a stroke. Ideally, you may first experience symptoms like:

  • Weakness, tingling, or numbness on one side of your body
  • Losing vision in one eye
  • Being unable to speak clearly
  • Being unable to control movement in an arm or leg

These symptoms indicate a transient ischemic attack, or TIA. These symptoms typically go away within 24 hours but are warning signs that you are at serious risk of having a stroke soon. You should seek medical attention immediately if you experience symptoms of a TIA or stroke.

Carotid artery disease is very rare in people under 60 – in fact, fewer than 1% of people in their 50s have significant narrowing of their carotid arteries. However, the risk increases as you age. You’re at greater risk if you have atherosclerosis (such as coronary artery disease) or a family history of heart disease or stroke. Additionally, smoking, high blood pressure, and diabetes can increase your risk of carotid artery disease.

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– James R.

“Dr. Julien and his people are the most cohesive, personable and professional I’ve ever come across. From the time I walk in to when I leave I feel like they care about me. The result is good healing.”

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“I was referred to Dr. W. Julian by my PCP and very happy that I was. Dr. Julian found a clogged artery that could have been life threatening if left untreated. My experience from consult to discharge was met courtesy, warmth and professionalism which helped me through my procedure. Sean greeted me and my son who explained the whole process and what to expect. I was also looked after by Josh, Jackie and Reuben who could not have been more supportive or communicative through this adventure.”

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– Robert G.

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– Felix G.

“I highly recommend this office for any vascular procedure you may need. The staff are awesome. They were very considerate and professional. My procedures were all a success and I am very happy with the end result. Top marks on everything.”

– Todd H.

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How is Carotid Artery Disease Diagnosed?

Carotid artery disease is typically diagnosed by advanced X-ray imaging using a special dye. It may also require an MRA, or magnetic resonance angiography. It’s often diagnosed after you’ve already had a stroke or symptoms of a TIA. Our providers here at South Florida Vascular Associates will assess your imaging results and determine how best to prevent a stroke and ensure healthy blood flow to the brain.

Carotid Artery Disease Treatment Options

Carotid artery disease is treated by restoring adequate blood flow to the brain through unblocking the arteries. There are two options available: carotid endarterectomy and carotid artery stenting.

Carotid Endarterectomy

This surgical procedure removes deposits of plaque from the arteries. A vascular physician can remove fatty deposits and restore healthy blood flow through the arteries. Some people may be at high risk for this procedure, in which case a stent is recommended.

Carotid Angioplasty and Stenting

This procedure involves a balloon angioplasty to open the artery before placing a stent to reinforce it and keep blood flow moving through. It’s performed using local anesthetic in a comfortable outpatient setting, with a small incision made in the groin, avoiding the need to create incisions near the neck.

Schedule a Consultation

At South Florida Vascular Associates, our providers will help you determine the best approach to treating carotid artery disease. To schedule an appointment, contact our Coconut Creek, Boynton Beach, and Plantation, FL offices serving the greater Southeast Florida area.


William Julien, MD

Board-Certified Vascular Interventional Physician


Mana Khatkar, PA-C

Certified Physician Assistant


Anissa Rodriguez, NP-C

Certified Nurse Practitioner