Division of Neuroradiology
Contact Information

Barbara Wilson
Diagnostic Imaging
The Ottawa Hospital
General Campus
Room S2, Box 232
501 Smyth Road
Ottawa, Ontario
K1H 8L6 Canada

Tel: 613-737-8571
Fax: 613-737-8830

bawilson@toh.on.ca

Understanding Carotid Artery Disease

The carotid arteries are the two large blood vessels on either side of the neck. They are the main source of blood to the brain. Carotid artery disease occurs when on or both arteries become narrowed or blocked by a build-up of plaque. Plaque is made up of scar tissue, blood cells in the artery wall, cholesterol and other fatty substances. This build up is caused by atherosclerosis, or the hardening of the arteries, and can slow or stop blood flow to the brain.

Interrupted blood flow can cause symptoms such as temporary blindness in one eye, numbness or weakness in an extremity, difficulty speaking and, occasionally, fainting or dizziness. This condition, if left untreated, can lead to a stroke. A stroke causes permanent injury to the brain.

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Last updated: 2015.09.08