WVU Heart and Vascular Institute offering new procedure for carotid artery disease

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Surgeons at the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute are now offering a new minimally invasive treatment for patients with carotid artery disease.

TCAR Illustration
TCAR procedure illustration courtesy of Silk Road Medical

The carotid arteries are the two large blood vessels in the neck that supply the brain and head with blood. Carotid artery disease occurs when the arteries become narrow or blocked as the result of a buildup of fatty plaque. This can cause small clots to form, and those clots can cause a stroke.

Currently, the most common treatments for severe carotid artery disease are carotid endarterectomy, an open surgical procedure, and transfemoral carotid angioplasty and stenting, a minimally invasive option for patients at high risk for stroke and other complications.

Surgeons at the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute are now performing transcarotid artery revascularization (TCAR) using the ENROUTE® Transcarotid Neuroprotection System, which is designed to reduce the risk of stroke while inserting the ENROUTE® Transcarotid Stent. 

The TCAR procedure is performed through a small incision at the neckline just above the clavicle. The surgeon places a tube directly into the carotid artery and connects it to a system that will direct blood flow away from the brain to protect against plaque that may come loose reaching the brain. Blood will flow through the system, and any material will be captured in a filter outside the body. Filtered blood will then be returned through a second tube in the groin. After the stent is placed successfully, flow reversal is turned off, and blood flow resumes in its normal direction.

The procedure takes 60-90 minutes. Patients are typically discharged the next day.   

“The TCAR procedure is one of the biggest cutting-edge innovations in vascular surgery in the last 20 years,” Luke Marone, M.D., co-director of the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute and chief of the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, said. “We’re excited to offer TCAR as a treatment option for our patients. We believe this will be a game changer in the way we treat those with carotid artery disease.” 

Dr. Marone and fellow board-certified WVU Heart and Vascular Institute surgeons Sashi Inkollu, M.D., and Eric Shang, M.D., are all TCAR certified and are the only surgeons in north central West Virginia and the surrounding region offering the procedure. 

For more information on the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, visit www.wvumedicine.org/heart