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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 127-136

Carotid atherosclerotic disease: A systematic review of pathogenesis and management

1 Department of Neurology, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, Tallahassee, Florida, USA
2 Department of Neurology, Ochsner LSU Health Sciences Center-Shreveport, Shreveport, LA, USA

Correspondence Address:
Roger E Kelley
Department of Neurology, Ochsner LSU Health Sciences Center-Shreveport, 1501 King's Highway, Shreveport, Shreveport, LA 71130-3932
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/bc.bc_36_22

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Carotid stenosis is an important contributor to ischemic stroke risk with resultant significant impact on neurological disability and death in adults and with worldwide implications. Management of carotid stenosis is impacted by whether there are associated symptoms along with the degree of stenosis. Understanding of the pathogenesis of carotid atherosclerosis or stenosis is important in management of carotid stenosis. Atherosclerotic plaque formation is a chronic insidious process with a number of potential contributors to the formation of such a plaque. The definition of atherosclerosis is not simply limited to abnormal deposition of lipid but also includes a chronic, complex, inflammatory process. Molecularly, in atherosclerosis, there is decreasing nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability, activity and/or expression of endothelial NO synthase, or increasing degradation of NO secondary to enhanced superoxide production. These above changes cause endothelial dysfunction leading to formation of foam cell followed by formation on lipid plaque. After lipid plaque formation, stable or unstable atherosclerotic plaque is formed depending on the calcium deposition over the lipid plaque. It continues to be clearly established that carotid intervention for symptomatic high-grade carotid stenosis is best managed with intervention either by carotid endarterectomy or carotid stenting. However, asymptomatic carotid stenosis is the subject of considerable controversy in terms of optimal management. This review of carotid atherosclerosis is an attempt to incorporate the information provided by more recent studies on pathogenesis and management which may help in the decision-making process for optimal management for protection against stroke.

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