HACKENSACK, NJ -- Hackensack University Medical Center is adding another notch to its belt, with the announcement that the hospital is now one of only three in New Jersey to offer a new cutting-edge stroke prevention procedure. Known as TransCarotid Artery Revascularization, or TCAR, the procedure is minimally invasive and can prevent debilitating strokes in patients suffering from blocked carotid arteries during treatment. The procedure was first performed on a patient at HUMC in November by David O’Connor, M.D., FACS, vascular surgeon and director of vascular research and assistant clinical professor of surgery at the facility. 

“This new, cutting-edge procedure helps us prevent stroke in patients who are higher risk for traditional surgery, many of whom were previously considered untreatable,” added Dr. O’Connor. “With TCAR, we can perform a minimally-invasive procedure through a tiny incision in the lower neck that offers a safe alternative compared to traditional surgery, opening the door for many new patients to be safely and effectively treated.”

TCAR is a state-of-the-art procedure that blends the advantages of traditional carotid endarterectomy (incision in the neck) and stenting. This safe procedure requires a small incision point in the neck (near the collar bone) and another small incision point in the groin. TCAR is less invasive, reduces the risk of stroke, and has a quick recovery, with most patients going home in less than 24 hours.

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Prior to TCAR, the main treatment option for severe carotid artery disease was a surgical procedure called carotid endarterectomy. While this technique protects the brain during the procedure, the large incision leaves a visible and lengthy scar across the neck and carries risks of surgical complications including bleeding, infection, heart attack, and cranial nerve injuries that can cause issues with swallowing, speaking, and sensation in the face. 

Every year, 15 million people worldwide suffer a stroke, also known as a “brain attack.” Nearly six million dies and another five million are left permanently disabled. Stroke is the second leading cause of disability globally. Carotid artery disease is estimated to be the source of stroke in up to a third of cases and there are 400,000 new diagnoses of carotid artery disease made every year in the United States alone.

“We are proud to offer this cutting-edge treatment option for high-risk patients across New Jersey and the region,” said Robert C. Garrett, co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health. “Hackensack Meridian Health continues to lead the way in innovation, employing the latest technology to provide patients with the world-class, patient-centered care they deserve.”

Hackensack Meridian Health's Jersey Shore University Medical Center is also offering the TCAR procedure to patients. Overlook Medical Center was the first hospital in the state to announce that it would use TCAR in late 2017.