I am not sure how much of this is already known, but here is a run down.  I elected to take advantage of discounted series of Life Line Screenings.  They showed that my carotid arteries were not in real good shape. So my internal medicine physician recommended a more thorough ultra sound evaluation.  That came back with an even more gloomy report, so we went to the next step, a cat scan.  I recently got the results of the cat scan which said my left carotid artery was completely blocked and the right partially blocked. I just got back from an appointment with a vascular surgeon who evaluated the cat scan results and informed me that since I have not had any symptoms of problems because of the blockage that no operation was warranted. My brain has adapted itself to getting no blood from the left side and seems to be getting along quite well with just the blood from the right side.  The cat scan gives a three dimensional picture of the artery, and whereas the ultra sound test showed rather severe blockage of the right, the cat scan showed relatively minor blockage.  Less than 60 %.  The surgeon's recommendation is to do nothing and in six months have an ultra sound test that she will do, to see if there has been any significant change. I was sorta hoping that I would have surgery, because I understand that it is not that scary, and only involves an overnight stay in the hospital.  The surgeon, however, said that to do an operation wouldn't have any effect on improving my health.  My brain gets all the blood it needs now and getting a little more because of a less restricted flow would not make the brain function better.  So I guess I am happy. 

I do occassionally feel a little faint, but she says that is not because of the carotid arteries.  Probably just the result of being an old has been.



  1. Deborah said,

    May 25, 2006 at 9:43 pm

    I was surprised the vascular surgeon didn’t think you needed to have surgery since the left side is completely blocked. How much less than 60% is the right? That still seems frightening to me.

    I’ve tried to get your son signed up to have the screening done. They even had a reduced rate offer here at our complex and I thought maybe then he would agree to go. He actually did consider it, but nixed the idea in the end.

    Well, I guess if the surgeon isn’t too worried and if you are happy and everything is okay then we won’t worry either….for now.

  2. Barbara said,

    May 25, 2006 at 9:50 pm

    OK, so this is scary. Let’s talk when we’re there tomorrow. I just learned that my chloresterol it too high but he is saying that diet and exercise (oh, yeah?) should bring it down, but if not, then another check in 6 months.

  3. setty said,

    May 26, 2006 at 6:54 pm

    This is mainly for Deb. I am not sure how much less than 60%, I should have pressed her. I gather the important thing is that I have had none of the tell tale sypmtoms to date. I suppose that if I were to have a small TIA or suddenly feel tingly on just one side of my body she would quickly get to work on an operation. I was earlier told that if there is 100% blockage that they do nothing. Iasked the surgeon aBout that and she said “correct”. It has been tried, but the chance of serious bleeding makes it too risky. They just opt to get the open side working properly.

  4. #2Son? said,

    May 27, 2006 at 4:40 pm

    Not to sound flippant – but I think you shoud get the procedure done. Think how many fantastic, new thoughts your brain will produce once it gets that influx of oxygen its been denied for some time now. You’ll be in complete command of Windows and software in general in no time!!!

    Seriously though, having the oxygen available that is normal for the brain sounds to me like something I would want back post-haste.

  5. setty said,

    May 27, 2006 at 5:43 pm

    I looked forward to my meeting with the surgeon, and was ready to ask how long the recovery time would be because of a commitment to staRt a class in July. When she said, she didn’t recommend an operation I was a little let down, but she said it wouldn’t improve anything, and I guess I have to go with thbe expert.

  6. Bruce said,

    May 27, 2006 at 6:25 pm

    Maybe they could switch it – you know, get the blood going to the left side instead of the right- and see if you become a rabid right-winger.

    A second opinion may not be a bad idea. Maybe your Doc is holding something back related to risk or something.

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