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First in Northern Michigan to Offer TCAR Procedure for Carotid Artery Disease

Published on Tuesday, April 02, 2019
dr. sheppeckMcLaren Northern Michigan is pleased to announce being the first in northern Michigan to offer TransCarotid Artery Revascularization (TCAR), a new procedure to treat patients with carotid artery disease and prevent future strokes.

“I’m very pleased to bring this innovative and lifesaving procedure to our northern Michigan community,” said Richard Sheppeck, MD, Vascular Surgeon on medical staff at McLaren Northern Michigan. “TCAR is a clinically proven, minimally invasive, and safe approach for high surgical risk patients who need carotid artery treatment.”

Carotid artery disease is a form of atherosclerosis, or a buildup of plaque, in the two main arteries in the neck that supply oxygen-rich blood to the brain. If left untreated, carotid artery disease can often lead to stroke. It is estimated that up to one third of strokes are caused by the carotid artery, with 400,000 new diagnoses of the disease made every year in the U.S. alone.

While some individuals can manage carotid artery disease with medications and lifestyle, more severe cases may require surgery to repair the blockage in the artery.
Traditional treatment for carotid artery disease involves either scraping out the plaque or placing a stent over the plaque to open the artery. Both involved a risk of surgical stroke, however, as plaque can break free and flow to the brain.

TCAR is unique compared to the traditional carotid artery procedures. During the procedure, the blood flow is temporarily reversed so that any small bits of plaque that may break off are diverted away from the brain, and filtered out of the blood stream, preventing a stroke. A stent is then placed inside the artery to stabilize the plaque, minimizing the risk of a future stroke. Normal blood flow is then restored.

“TCAR is an important new option in the fight against stroke. Patients who are at a higher risk of complications due to age, anatomy, or health for traditional carotid artery surgeries can now have an option,” said Dr. Sheppeck, who has performed dozens of TCAR procedures at a TCAR Center for Excellence prior to joining McLaren Northern Michigan in 2018. “Because of its low stroke risk and faster patient recovery, I believe TCAR is the future of carotid repair.”

Talk to your primary care provider about treatment options for carotid artery disease.

For more information about TCAR and vascular surgery, please contact 800-248-6777 or visit mclaren.org/northern.