Services at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix  

Carotid Blockage


Carotid blockage removed with carotid surgery at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix in Arizona.The vascular experts at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix's Cavanagh Heart Center are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of carotid blockages to prevent strokes.

Cavanagh Heart Center, part of Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix, is one of only a few medical centers in the metro Phoenix area approved by the Joint Commission to treat acute strokes.

Cavanagh Heart Center vascular surgeons participate in research and clinical trials while educating future as well as current vascular surgeons from other hospitals.

What is a carotid blockage?

A carotid artery blockage is one of the major factors contributing to strokes. The carotid arteries are two large blood vessels at each side of the neck that supply blood, oxygen and other vital nutrients to the brain to sustain life.

When the arteries harden with a fatty material called plaque, and restrict blood flow and oxygen, it can cause a sudden stroke, or loss in the brain function. A stroke occurs when the lack of blood flow and oxygen to the brain cells result in a sudden loss of brain function.

Symptoms of a stroke include: (Seek emergency medical help if you have any of these)

  • Temporary loss of vision, hearing or both
  • Difficulty speaking or slurring of words
  • Loss of control over one arm or leg
  • Numbness to face, arm or leg

How does Cavanagh Heart Center at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix prevent strokes?

The first step to stroke prevention at Cavanagh Heart Center involves thorough screening. Carotid artery disease does not usually cause symptoms so a person may not know they have it until a stroke is occurring. However there are several tests that can detect the presence of a carotid blockage. When a carotid blockage is found early, it can be treated thereby preventing a stroke for that person.

Our vascular experts can identify patients who are at risk for carotid blockage and stroke and offer swift and effective treatment to prevent future complications. Risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and diabetes.

The board-certified and fellowship-trained cardiologists, interventional radiologists and vascular surgeons at Cavanagh Heart Center perform a large number of procedures to remove carotid blockage:

Carotid angioplasty and stenting - Performed under local anesthesia, this is a minimally invasive procedure widens the narrowed carotid artery. The physician makes a small incision in the patient’s arm or groin and guides a thin wire to the blocked area and uses a balloon to compress the plaque or a sharp knife-like tip to remove the plaque. A stent, a thin metal coil, may be used to hold the artery open. The incision is closed and patients may be sent home the next day.

Carotid endarterectomy - This procedure is performed under anesthesia. The surgeon makes an incision in the neck and removes the plaque. In some cases if the artery is too damaged to repair, the surgeon may use a vein graft from the patient’s leg. Once the artery is repaired, the incision is closed. Most patients spend two to three days in the hospital for recovery.

For More Vascular Information 


Ask our concierge, (602) 839-2400

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Find a Banner Health expert in vascular disease

Call Cavanagh Heart Center concierge at (602) 839-2400 for all your heart care questions.
Call Cavanagh Heart Center concierge at (602) 839-2400 for all your heart care questions.
Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix
1111 E. McDowell Road
Phoenix, AZ 85006
(602) 839-2000
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