Why Does a Blockage In My Neck Need a Brain Expert?

Why Does a Blockage In My Neck Need a Brain Expert?

This article was written as a collaborative effort between Central Illinois Radiological Associates (CIRA) and Illinois Neurological Institute (INI): L to R: Dr. Deepak Nair, Neurologist, Dr. James Swischuk, Interventional Radiologist, Dr. Sean Meagher, Neurointerventional Surgeon, Dr. David Wang, Vascular Neurologist, Dr. Arun Talkad, Neurologist

The carotid artery is a highway to the brain. There is a carotid artery on each side of the neck. Each one travels through the neck (where one can feel the pulse) and splits into two branches, the most important one being the internal carotid artery (ICA) which leads directly to the brain. The most vital fact is the two carotid arteries are responsible for about 75-80% of the entire brain’s blood flow. When a person has high blood pressure, diabetes and/or high cholesterol problems, the carotid arteries can become narrowed by a process called atherosclerosis (plaque build up). As a result, narrowing of the carotid arteries can interfere or completely block the blood flow to the brain.

Stroke is the sudden onset of weakness/numbness of one side of the body, drooping face, slurred speech, language problems and sudden loss of vision. This neurologic change is due to brain damage from a disruption of blood flow to a specific portion of the brain. About 800,000 strokes occur every year, making it the leading cause of adult disability and nursing home admission. Up to 85% of strokes are due to a lack of blood flow to a particular part of the brain, known as an ischemic stroke. Of this 85% of ischemic strokes about 20% are caused by blockages of the carotid arteries.

Click here to read the original article »