FAQs About Carotid Blockage

How did I get carotid occlusive disease?

Your arteries most likely became narrowed or blocked due to the buildup of atherosclerotic plaque in your blood vessels.  That plaque buildup often occurs as a result of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, smoking, or obesity. Carotid occlusive disease also has a family component, so having a family history of stroke increases your own risk of having carotid stenosis or carotid occlusion. Find out more about Carotid Occlusive Disease.

Why is a carotid blockage dangerous?

If an artery becomes completely blocked (which is called carotid occlusion) or if piece of the blockage breaks off and travels to a smaller vessel where it completely blocks blood flow, a part of the brain may be completely deprived of oxygen, leading to the destruction of brain tissue. This is what happens during the event we call a stroke, or a “brain attack.”  There are nearly half a million strokes each year in the United States, and it’s the third leading cause of death. Stroke claims 140,000 American lives a year — and half of those fatal strokes can be traced to carotid occlusion.

Our Care Team

  • Chair and Neurosurgeon-in-Chief
  • Margaret and Robert J. Hariri, MD ’87, PhD ’87 Professor of Neurological Surgery
  • Vice Provost of Business Affairs and Integration
Phone: 212-746-4684
  • Director of Cerebrovascular and Endovascular Neurosurgery, NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist
Phone: 718-780-3070
  • Assistant Professor of Radiology in Neurological Surgery (Manhattan and Queens)
Phone: 212-746-2821 (Manhattan) or 718-303-3739 (Queens)
  • Director of Cerebrovascular Surgery and Interventional Neuroradiology
  • Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery
  • Fellowship Director, Endovascular Neurosurgery
Phone: 212-746-5149
  • Associate Professor, Neurological Surgery
Phone: 718-670-1837
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery (Brooklyn and Manhattan)
Phone: 212-746-2821 (Manhattan); 718-780-3070 (Brooklyn)

Weill Cornell Medicine Neurological Surgery 525 East 68 Street, Box 99 New York, NY 10065 Phone: 866-426-7787