New procedure in Madison reduces risk of stroke for carotid surg - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

New procedure in Madison reduces risk of stroke for carotid surgeries

Posted: Updated:

MADISON (WKOW) -- A new procedure at a Madison hospital is aiming to reduce the risks for people with cardiovascular problems. 

This weekend, nearly a million Americans will walk for heart health. Heart Walk events across the country, including here in Madison, will raise awareness of the risks of cardiovascular disease and stroke. A local hospital's new procedure is helping patients find a safer way to recover from cardiovascular problems.

Two surgeons at SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital have joined about 120 around the world who are trained in a specialty surgery that could be the future of stroke prevention for certain procedures.

"I suspect it'll have a real part in the algorithm. My guess is, 30-40 percent of carotid [surgeries] will be treated this way at some point," said Dr. David DeAngeles, a general surgeon with SSM. 

DeAngeles and vascular surgeon Dr. Anjan Talukdar are two of just three doctors in Wisconsin trained in TransCarotid Artery Revascularization, or TCAR. Studies have shown TCAR significantly reduces the chance of stroke in high-risk patients who need surgery to clear up carotid artery blockages.

Traditional carotid surgeries can cause a stroke if a piece of the blockage breaks off and goes into the brain. But TCAR uses a special technique to reverse the blood flow, so anything that breaks off goes the opposite direction of the brain. 

Mary Schmidt knew something was wrong when she momentarily went blind in the lower half of her eyes one day in June. 

"It was kind of scary and it is scary," Schmidt told 27 News. "Then I’m wondering where did it come from?"

She went to the doctor and found out she had a 90 percent blockage in her carotid artery. She was a high-risk patient, because she had radiation treatments for cancer in the past, so the doctors suggested TCAR. 

"It was exactly the very next day that I was in surgery, that early morning," Mary said. 

"I guess I was scared, but I knew it had to be done and you put your faith in these guys, they know what they're doing. That's what they do."

SSM has done 15 TCAR surgeries since starting earlier this year, including Schmidt's procedure. Dr. Talukdar says they've seen TCAR has helped patients recover faster and keeps them safer during the procedure.

"From our perspective, it had less risk of having a stroke," Talukdar tells 27 News. "The risk of having heart attacks or cardiac problems were lower compared to open surgery and compared to stents, which are traditional."

The doctors say they've had good results for all surgeries so far. The life-saving procedure left Schmidt feeling better than ever.

"A lot more energy, just much more clear," Schmidt said. "I didn't realize that I was kind of muddled until after I had the procedure and it was much better."

Every year, 15 million people have strokes around the world. Six million of them die and others are left with permanent disabilities. Carotid artery disease is the source of stroke in a third of all cases, according to health officials.

You can help raise awareness of heart health by participating in the annual Heart Walk on Saturday. It starts at 9:30 a.m. at Warner Park. WKOW is a proud sponsor of the event. 27 News anchor Greg Jeschke is emcee. 

Powered by Frankly