New technology to combat strokes is being used right here in the Central Valley. One local doctor performed a new type of carotid artery procedure to help his patient reduce the risk of surgical complications.

It’s been more than six months since David Wolrath went under to remove plaque from one of his carotid arteries.

Vascular and Endovascular Surgeon, Dr. Kamell Eckroth-Bernard explains, carotid arteries are major blood vessels that allow blood flow to the brain. He said, “You have two one on each side for each hemisphere of your brain. As it comes up here to the mid portion of your neck, about we call it a biforcation, it’s basically a split. That’s where the carotid arteries splits into the external carotid artery which goes to your face.”

David is 76 years old. He suffered a minor stroke more than year ago.

“My stroke occurred when I went down to LA and I had a stroke. I got out of bed put my foot on the floor, the left leg goes out from under me, I stumble out to the left,” said David.

Dr. Bernard said David’s carotid artery on his right side had narrowed, which affected the flow of blood to his brain. He was at risk of having another stroke.

He stated, “Instead of it being smooth flow through these areas, if it’s narrow, it’s going to be haphazard and fast, and that can lift up pieces of plaque, can go to your brain, that’s how you get a stroke.”

David unfortunately had so much scarring in his carotid artery, Dr. Bernard decided it was best to have a stent placed in. David also was the perfect candidate for TCAR.

Dr. Bernard said, “TCAR stands for Transcarotid Artery Revascularization. A lot of the stroke risk that’s involved with trans-femoral stenting has to do with coming up through the aortic arch which tends to have plaque in it, also manipulating wires and catheters in the great vessels”

According to Silk Road Medical, the Bay Area engineers of TCAR, the minimally-invasive procedure is designed to give the surgeon more options when treating carotid artery disease.

“The system that they have set up for TCAR is a flow reversal system which is really an open surgical principle and by causing flow reversal in the brain on that side for a short period of time it’s usually very well tolerated by patients. And this allows us to balloon very aggressively in the areas that are narrow and also place our stent all while allowing flow reversal to happen and protecting the brain at the same time,” commented Dr. Bernard.

David said, “I’ve always had a great confidence in doctors, and I had a great confidence in Dr. Bernard.”

Having the TCAR procedure done cuts down David’s chances of ever having another stroke. TCAR’s manufacturer said more than 10,000 TCAR procedures have been done worldwide, but David’s was the first in the Central Valley.

“Having a new technology that is present for patients, I’m excited for the patients. I think they have more options, especially as patients start to get a little bit older,” said Dr. Bernard.

David said he’s grateful Community physicians like Dr. Bernard are always providing excellent, state of the art care to their patients. He looks forward to many more years of healthy living ahead.

“I’d kinda like to go for 97 because I just like that number, so that’s my plan. And the way I feel right now, it should be no problem,” ended David.