Carotid Artery Disease Treatments

If a carotid artery is less than 50 percent narrowed, it is often treated with medicine and lifestyle changes. If the artery is between 50 percent and 70 percent narrowed, medicine or surgery may be used, depending on your case. Surgery is usually advised when there is significant narrowing of the carotid artery. Surgical treatment decreases the risk for stroke after symptoms such as TIA or minor stroke.

Depending on the severity of your condition, one or more of the following treatments for carotid artery disease may be used.

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Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute is a nationally recognized destination for those who require highly specialized cardiovascular care.


Medicines that may be used to treat carotid artery disease include:

  • Antiplatelets: These medicines make platelets in the blood less able to stick together and cause clots. Aspirin, clopidogrel, and dipyridamole are examples of antiplatelet medicines.
  • Cholesterol-lowering medicines: Statins are a group of cholesterol-lowering medicines. They include simvastatin and atorvastatin. Studies have shown that certain statins can decrease the thickness of the carotid artery wall and increase the size of the opening of the artery.
  • Blood pressure-lowering medicines: Several different medicines work to lower blood pressure.