Joan B. had always felt young for her age. She was active in serving South County Good Neighbors in the Nesko Women’s Club, and volunteered in her church. However, she noticed her high energy level waning.
Simple activities would leave her feeling tired. So, when she couldn’t complete one task without getting exhausted, she knew it was time to see her doctor.
Joan’s doctor referred her to a specialist in Salem who ran some tests, showing Joan’s left carotid artery was 99.9 percent blocked. With only a trickle of blood passing through her carotid artery, she was at high risk for a stroke and would require immediate surgery.
Joan was referred to interventional cardiologist Raghu Kamineni, MD, at Salem Health. The hospital participated in clinical research, so patients like Joan could receive innovative treatments close to home.
A stent would open up the carotid artery to improve blood flow. To determine the exact location of the blockage, Dr. Kamineni scheduled an angiogram. The angiogram indicated that Joan’s heart also suffered some damage. Fortunately, the blockage did not require any further treatment.
Kamineni needed to create space to place the stent in the carotid artery. He used angioplasty, a collapsed balloon on a guide wire that is passed into the narrowed locations and then inflated to a precise size. The balloon crushes the fatty deposits, opening up the blood vessel for improved flow and creating space for the stent. The balloon was then deflated and withdrawn.
“They did this twice to move the plaque out of the way,” Joan said. “I could actually hear the plaque getting pushed against the walls of the artery. The third time they were able to leave the stent.”
Other than a slightly sore throat the first day or two, her recovery was symptomless.
“My energy level has returned, and I am back to normal,” Joan said. “I no longer get sweaty after a simple activity. Dr. Kamenini was easy to get to know and after consulting with him, I had confidence that he would be able to help me.”