What is the pathophysiology of atherosclerotic disease of the carotid artery?

Updated: Oct 04, 2018
  • Author: Jake F Hemingway, MD; Chief Editor: Vincent Lopez Rowe, MD  more...
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Answer

Currently, embolization is considered the most common mechanism causing ischemic strokes from atherosclerotic lesions in the carotid bulb. Thrombosis and low flow are other possible mechanisms.

Stroke is one of the most devastating complications of carotid stenosis. However, carotid stenosis is not the only cause of stroke. In fact, among patients with asymptomatic stenosis of 60-99%, as many as 45% of strokes may be caused by lacunar infarcts or cardiac emboli.


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