Last reviewed 01/2018
Carotid artery disease (CAD) or carotid artery stenosis is the pathological narrowing of the extracranial carotid artery caused by atherosclerosis plaques (1).
- CAD is the cause in approximately 10 to 20% of all ischemic stroke cases
- an unstable plaque may lead to local thrombus formation and subsequent embolisation
The area most commonly affected by atherosclerosis is the bifurcation of the common carotid artery. Next most common site is the vertebral arteries. Rarely, the orifices of the great vessels become obstructed where they leave the aortic arch (1,2).
Prevalence of carotid stenosis is slightly higher in men than in women. The Nothern Manhattan study has reported that blacks and Hispanics had more strokes than whites with carotid artery stenosis (2).