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Symptoms & Treatment

Carotid Arteries

Blockages to the main arteries to the brain (known as the carotid arteries) may cause strokes or transient ischemic attacks (TIAs).  Strokes are one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States.  Early detection and treatment can be key in preventing stroke. Symptoms include: loss of vision of one eye, sudden difficulty speaking and weakness or numbness on one side of the body.

Carotid artery blockages can be accurately and painlessly detected with an ultrasound in Willamette Vascular’s lab.  Dr. Peterson will read your lab results without delay and consult with your referring physician to provide you with options of treatment, if necessary.

The treatment for carotid artery stenosis depends upon the degree of blockage and the presence of symptoms. If the carotid artery is less than 70% blocked and you have no symptoms, doctors usually recommend aspirin treatment. One aspirin per day will reduce the likelihood of a blood clot and decrease your chance of stroke. Your treatment will include regular checkups with your doctor to see if your condition changes. If the carotid artery is less than 70% blocked, but you have symptoms, then treatment may be recommended depending on the results of various studies. Follow up of carotid stenosis will include regular checkups with imaging studies to insure there are no changes in your condition.

However, if the plaque looks rough and irregular, Dr. Peterson may recommend surgery to remove the plaque. If the carotid artery is more than a 70% blocked and you have symptoms, the usual treatment is surgery. This procedure, called carotid endarterectomy, involves removing the plaque from the carotid artery. While the majority of surgeons throughout the country use general anesthesia for this procedure, Dr. Peterson has the expertise and patience to perform a carotid endarterectomy using local anesthesia.  This technique has proven to expedite recovery and enables Dr. Peterson to receive immediate feedback from patients to assess neurological status (brain activity).

Following the surgery, you may need to take medicine, like aspirin,  that makes your blood less likely to clot. There is a one or two percent risk of stroke with this procedure. Alternatives to surgery, like stent angioplasty, will also be considered and discussed.

Leg Arteries

Pain in the legs with walking may be a sign of significant blockages in the leg arteries.  This is known as intermittent claudication.  Many might consider this normal again, but it is not.  Other symptoms include constant pain in the feet at rest, or non-healing sores on the feet and/or toes.  The first step to diagnose this problem is a thorough physical exam and ultrasound evaluation performed at Willamette Vascular’s lab.

Dr. Peterson is highly skilled in both minimally invasive (endovascular) and traditional surgical approaches to peripheral vascular disease.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)

AAAs are the 9th leading cause of death in the U.S. in men over 60 years old.  This condition also occurs in women.  Often known as “silent killers,” they are deadly when they rupture.

Willamette Vascular’s state-of-the-art lab can accurately detect and carefully follow aneurysms. Doing so can save lives.

Often Dr. Peterson can repair AAAs with a minimally invasive procedure.  This procedure often means patients only spend one night in the hospital and predictably have a speedy recovery. Dr. Peterson has extensive experience in both traditional open aneurysm as well as minimally invasive endovascular repair.

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