Driving home to Long Island from Colorado on his way back from picking up his son, Shaun Gardner experienced two episodes of blurred vision, which each lasted about 10-15 minutes. Despite these events, he completed his journey home safely. Once home, he sought out the opinion of an ophthalmologist to see if he could determine what was affecting his vision. Things, though, would take a turn shortly after. A few days later, as Shaun was getting a haircut, he had a monumental scare.
“My eyes went black,” said Shaun. “I sat, finished getting my haircut, and then had my wife take me to the volunteer fire department so I could have an ambulance bring me to the ER.”
At the emergency room, the results of an MRI revealed that Shaun had suffered a stroke about two weeks earlier. This was around the time he had experienced the episodes of blurred vision. A few days later, he underwent a Transcarotid Artery Revascularization (TCAR) to prevent further health complications, including ischemic stroke. Director of the Stroke & Brain Aneurysm Center of Long Island at Catholic Health's Good Samaritan Hospital Kimon Bekelis, MD, a leading specialist in minimally invasive endovascular neurosurgery, performed the procedure.
“TCAR provides the patient with an alternative to traditional surgery. The less invasive approach reduces the risk of a heart attack, nerve injury, time required to perform the procedure and hospital recovery time,” said Dr. Bekelis
Dr. Bekelis describes Shaun as a prime candidate for the TCAR procedure. He is young and considered to be at higher risk due to his previous stroke. During the TCAR procedure, catheters are inserted into small incisions in the carotid artery in the neck and the femoral vein in the groin. Blood flow through the carotid artery is reversed to prevent debris dislodged during the procedure from traveling to the brain and causing additional complications. A filter also serves to collect any potential debris before blood is returned to the blood vessel in the leg. The procedure concludes with the placement of a stent in the carotid artery, which serves to increase blood flow through the artery and stabilize any plaque on the artery walls with the aim of preventing future strokes.
Patients, including Shaun, who undergo the TCAR procedure, are frequently able to leave the hospital the next day. His procedure was just a few short weeks ago and his recovery is going very well. Dr. Bekelis anticipates a strong recovery without any lingering effects.
Shaun reports he is now feeling fine and is “just waiting for some follow-up tests” before completely resuming normal everyday life.