Surgery to remove plaque from clogged neck arteries lowered the risk of stroke in the long run, according to a study in the Lancet. Over time, plaques composed of cholesterol and debris accumulate on artery walls, narrowing them and restricting the flow of blood. In carotid arteries, which run up either side of the neck, this narrowing increases the likelihood of having a stroke. The surgery, known as carotid endarterectomy, is sometimes suggested for patients whose carotid arteries have narrowed by 60% to 90%, even in the absence of pre-stroke symptoms.
For patients older than 75, carotid endarterectomy didn't significantly reduce stroke risk. The relative benefits of the procedure may decrease as nonsurgical treatments, such as cholesterol-lowering medications, become more effective.
Read all about it in the Wall Street Journal. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703859204575526124128371254.html?mod=WSJ_LifeStyle_Lifestyle_5
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