Stroke prevention is all about catching a problem before it becomes life or death. Treatment usually involves angioplasty or a stent to increase blood flow in the arteries.

Now, a new procedure promises to lower the chance of stroke during surgery by redirecting and filtering blood.

Traditional surgeries to place a stent can pose the risk of what’s called a 'procedural stroke,' that's when doctors dislodge plaque from the arteries, and it gets into the brain. But Vascular surgeons at Virginia Mason have a new tool to protect from procedural stroke called trans carotid artery revascularization or TCAR.

Here's how it works - a specialized sheath, or tube, is placed in the common carotid artery which reverses the blood flow, directing it away from the brain. That blood then runs through a filter which catches any plaque loosened during the procedure. Finally, a stent is placed in the artery through the same sheath used to reverse blood flow.

"I think it's well-tolerated because body has built-in auxiliary roots that can supply things while we work on them, and it provides a benefit to us and our patients because the flow is and again the debris is kept out of the area’s most damaging during the implementation of the stent," says Damon Pierce, Chief of Vascular Surgery at Virginia Mason.

Patients who undergo TCAR at Virginia Mason can participate in a special research study with additional monitoring and data collection. That means Doctors are committed to checking up, making sure the TCAR surgery was a success.

FAST - signs of a stroke
FAST - signs of a stroke