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The carotid arteries are located in the neck and provide the brain with most of its blood supply. Carotid artery disease develops when these arteries become narrowed, or occluded, by an accumulation of a fatty substance called plaque. The build-up of plaque inside the walls of the artery is due to a process called atherosclerosis ("hardening of the arteries"), and the resulting narrowing is called "stenosis."

If plaque builds up to the point that it obstructs blood flow to the brain, or particles of the plaque break off and travel to arteries within the brain, a person can develop a stroke or a "mini" stroke (TIA). Stroke is caused by a stoppage of blood flow to any part of the brain for any reason, which leads to damage of that part of the brain, and is an emergency condition requiring prompt treatment to prevent permanent brain injury.

Magnetic resonance angiography of artery with carotid stenosis
Carotid stenosis – a narrowing of the artery supplying blood to the brain – can be treated with surgery, stent insertion, or medication.

Carotid artery disease causes more than a third of all strokes. NewYork-Presbyterian neurologists and surgeons treat carotid stenosis with a variety of methods to restore optimal blood flow to the brain and reduce the risk of stroke. Patients benefit from one of the most experienced teams of specialists; advanced technologies for diagnosis and treatment; and round-the-clock neurocritical care. NewYork-Presbyterian's neurology and neurosurgery departments consistently rank among the top five in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Critically ill patients benefit from our Neurological Intensive Care Units (Neuro-ICUs) at both NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. These Neuro-ICUs feature specially trained medical staff (including doctors who are board-certified specifically in neurocritical care), 24/7 surveillance, sophisticated monitoring techniques, and specialized medical and surgical treatments focused on improving the outcomes of patients with neurological disorders. These units are also among the few in the world with dedicated in-unit scanners.

Physicians who wish to transfer a patient to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital for the care of carotid stenosis can call us at 1-800-NYP-STAT (1-800-697-7828) to arrange for a transfer, 24/7.

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