healthcare tech

Hackensack Meridian Health Among First in Tri-State to Offer Innovative Treatment of Carotid Artery Disease

Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center is among the first in the tri-state region and the first in Bergen County, to offer an innovative new treatment that prevents stroke in patients with blocked carotid arteries, the major blood vessels that deliver blood to the brain.  The minimally invasive procedure, called TransCarotid Artery Revascularization or TCAR, employs a new FDA-approved neuroprotection system that temporarily reverses blood flow in the artery during the procedure to prevent dangerous plaque from traveling to the brain and causing a stroke.

Prior to TCAR, the main treatment option for severe carotid artery disease was a surgical procedure called carotid endarterectomy. While this technique protects the brain during the procedure, the large incision leaves a visible and lengthy scar across the neck and carries risks of surgical complications including bleeding, infection, heart attack, and cranial nerve injuries that can cause issues with swallowing, speaking, and sensation in the face.

David O’Connor, MD, FACS, a vascular surgeon, Director of Vascular Research and Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center, is among the first in the country to gain expertise with the TCAR procedure. “This new, cutting-edge procedure helps us prevent stroke in patients who are higher risk for traditional surgery, many of whom were previously considered untreatable,” said O’Connor. “With TCAR, we can perform a minimally-invasive procedure through a tiny incision in the lower neck that offers a safe alternative compared to traditional surgery, opening the door for many new patients to be safely and effectively treated.”

O’Connor performed the first TCAR procedure at Hackensack University Medical Center on Margaret Voloshin, a 64-year-old resident of Garfield. Voloshin was an ideal patient for this procedure based on her medical history. She suffers from pulmonary and cardiac disease making her ineligible for carotid endarterectomy.

“This procedure was truly life-saving for me,” said Voloshin. “I suffered from several mini-strokes, and was at risk for suffering a major stroke. I was not eligible for any other surgical procedures to prevent future strokes. Thanks to Dr. O’Connor, the procedure was relatively easy and I was out of the hospital the next morning.”

Compared to traditional open surgery, the TCAR procedure is far less invasive providing significant benefits to the patients. “Patients recover more quickly, with less pain, and the risks of both minor and major complications are significantly decreased,” O’Connor added. “TCAR is a revolutionary treatment option for treating blocked carotid arteries.”

Every year, 15 million people worldwide suffer a stroke, also known as a “brain attack.” Nearly six million dies and another five million are left permanently disabled. Stroke is the second leading cause of disability globally. Carotid artery disease is estimated to be the source of stroke in up to a third of cases and there are 400,000 new diagnoses of carotid artery disease made every year in the United States alone.

“TCAR is a groundbreaking new treatment option in the fight against stroke, and we are thrilled to be able to offer this service to some of our patients at risk for endarterectomy,” said Massimo M. Napolitano, MD, FACS, Chief of Vascular Surgery and Vice-Chairman of the Department of Surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center. “The cutting-edge advancements in vascular care are transforming stroke treatment and prevention options, further enhancing the quality of life for our patients. Dr. O’Connor and the entire vascular team continue to put Hackensack University Medical Center on the forefront of vascular care and stroke prevention.”

“TCAR is another example of thoughtful innovation and further highlights the Department of Surgery’s focus on patient safety as its top priority,” said Martin S. Karpeh Jr., M.D., chair of the Department of Surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center.

Related Articles: