Reducing risk of stroke while repairing a blocked artery


A follow up ultrasound of Ron Lyman’s thyroid after battling head/neck cancer revealed another serious health threat. 

“They noticed there was a blockage in my carotid artery,” says Ron.

Doctors determined it was linked to Ron’s chemo and radiation treatment. 

He explains, “Like when you shrink wrap a boat, you put heat on it and it pulls, it tightens the plastic up.  I’ve learned your esophagus and your body does the same thing.  The walls thicken and it gets tight.”

“This segment right here is the abnormal portion where it was critically narrowed,” points Ron’s doctor, Dr. Thomas Divinagracia.  He is a vascular surgeon at Hartford Hospital.

His top priority was to prevent a stroke.  

Dr. Vavinigracia says, “One of the main things we worry about, even though we are doing the procedure to prevent a stroke.  One of the things you worry about in fact, the thing you worry the most about is actually a risk of a stroke at the time of the procedure.”

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Instead of the traditional open surgical method, Dr. Divinagracia​​​​​​​ chose Trans Carotid Artery Revascularization, or TCAR, to put in a stent, to repair Ron’s narrowed artery that was at least 80 percent blocked.        

He says,  “In my opinion, this is the safest way to protect the brain during an angioplasty and stenting procedure.” 

A small incision was made, Dr. Vavinigracia says, “You perform a small incision above the clavicle…”

It’s unique flow reversal  protects the brain and lowers the risk of a stroke during surgery. 

“The flow reversal is again,” says Dr. Divinagracia​​​​​​​, “To protect the brain from any operative or peri procedural strokes which would be caused by little pieces breaking free as you’re manipulating that area.” 

Ron says, “Now I don’t have a blockage so I’m not worrying about getting a stroke. My plumbing is humming.    

The minimally invasive procedure requires an overnight hospital stay. 

Ron was back at work on Monday after undergoing the procedure over the weekend. 


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