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Question:

From Shannon, Mississippi, USA:

I am 54 years old and have had diabetes for almost 40 years. I had bypass surgery four years ago, and now they are testing for blockage in carotid arteries. What is the treatment for that? How successful is it? I have good control of my diabetes and watch my fat intake; as well as exercise about three times a week. However, I wonder how helpful that is with the continuing blockage. I have a history of heart disease in my family.

Answer:

A blockage in the carotid artery is dangerous because of decreased flow to the brain and the risk of breaking off pieces of clot that could cause stroke. If the blockage is not critical (and you will need to talk to your doctors about what they feel is a critical narrowing), treatment with more potent anti-platelet drugs can be used. In the cases with the most critical narrowing, and where there are symptoms, one of the possibilities for treatment includes a surgery called a carotid endarterectomy in which a surgeon removes the clotted material from the vessel. These are complicated treatments dependent on a lot of clinical information. Therefore, it is not possible to tell which treatment, if any, you might need. Remember to be your own advocate and ask lots of questions regarding the tests, the results, and any recommended treatment.

JTL

DTQ-20010217175131
Original posting 25 Feb 2001
Posted to Complications

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:18
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