Medical Definition of Endarterectomy

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Endarterectomy: An operation to clean out an artery and restore normal blood flow through the artery. An endarterectomy is basically a "Rotorooter" procedure. It removes diseased material from the inside of an artery, and also removes any occluding atheromatous deposits, the aim being to leave a smooth lining within the vessel, so the blood can flow normally.

A coronary endarterectomy involves the removal (excision) of occluding material from a coronary artery (one of the arteries in the heart muscle).

Carotid endarterectomy is the removal of occluding material from the carotid artery.

A person may have a transient ischemic attack (TIA), a neurological event with the symptoms of a stroke, but the symptoms go away within a short period of time. This is often caused by the narrowing or ulceration of the carotid arteries (the major arteries in the neck that supply blood to the brain). If not treated, there is a high risk of having a major stroke in the future. If you suspect a TIA, you should seek medical attention right away. An operation to clean out the carotid artery and restore normal blood flow through the artery (a carotid endarterectomy) markedly reduces the incidence of a subsequent stroke.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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