Willis-Knighton Heart & Vascular Institute First in State To Offer Innovative TCAR Artery Revascularization

Jul 14, 2017

Fredrick W. Knight, MDLouisiana’s first TransCarotid Artery Revascularization (TCAR) procedure to treat carotid artery disease was performed by Fredrick W. Knight, MD, at the Willis-Knighton Heart & Vascular Institute on July 6.  This innovative procedure took place in the Institute’s hybrid surgical suite.

Dr. Knight, founder of WK Vascular Surgical Associates, has more than 30 years of experience in vascular surgery.  His experience and Willis-Knighton’s commitment to innovative heart care were factors used by Silk Road Medical, the technology innovator, when selecting Willis-Knighton to introduce this new technology to Louisiana.

Carotid artery disease, also called carotid artery stenosis, is a narrowing of the carotid arteries, the two large blood vessels that supply oxygenated blood to the front part of the brain. The narrowing is usually caused by the build-up of plaque, which can dislodge, travel to the brain and cause a stroke.

“TCAR is an important new option in the fight against stroke, and is particularly suited for patients who are at higher risk of complications from carotid endarterectomy due to age, other medical conditions, or anatomic issues. Because of its low stroke risk, we think TCAR has the potential to become the standard of care for all patients,” said Dr. Knight.

TCAR utilizes a new FDA-approved neuroprotection system that temporarily reverses blood flow in the artery during the procedure. Dangerous bits of plaque and blood clots are diverted from the brain as a transcarotid stent is inserted to open and stabilize the blockage. 

For decades, the main treatment option for severe carotid artery disease was an open surgical procedure called carotid endarterectomy. The operation is done through a 3- to 4-inch incision on the side of the neck and has a small risk of stroke, bleeding, nerve injury and heart attack.  High-risk patients are often treated by transfemoral carotid stenting, but this procedure has a greater risk of stroke than carotid endarterectomy. TCAR allows for the insertion of a stent through a smaller incision at the base of the neck. The stroke rate is comparable to carotid endarterectomy and the risk of the other complications is greatly reduced. 

More information is available at the websites for Willis-Knighton Heart & Vascular Institute or WK Vascular Surgical Associates.