What happens before carotid artery surgery?
Intermountain Healthcare
Here's what happens after you arrive at the hospital or clinic and register for carotid surgery:
  • Getting ready. You'll change into a hospital gown. If necessary, hair on your neck near the surgery site will be clipped or shaved.
  • Marking the correct site. Your doctor will mark the site for the surgery with "yes."
  • IV line. An IV (intravenous) line will be placed in your arm or hand to give you medication.
  • Arterial line. A catheter (thin tube) will be placed into an artery (usually in your wrist, elbow, groin, or foot) to monitor your blood pressure during the procedure.
Before a carotid endarterectomy (CEA) or carotid artery angioplasty with stenting (CAS) procedure for carotid artery disease:
  • Your physician will explain the procedure to you and offer you the opportunity to ask any questions that you might have about the procedure.
  • You will be asked to sign a consent form that gives your permission to do the procedure. Read the form carefully and ask questions if something is not clear.
  • In addition to a complete medical history, your physician may perform a complete physical examination to ensure you are in good health before undergoing the procedure. You may undergo blood tests or other diagnostic tests.
  • Notify your physician if you are sensitive to or are allergic to any medications, iodine, latex, tape, contrast dye, or anesthetic agents (local and general).
  • Notify your physician of all medications (prescription and over-the-counter) and herbal supplements that you are taking.
  • Notify your physician if you have a history of bleeding disorders or if you are taking any anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medications, aspirin, or other medications that affect blood clotting. It may be necessary for you to stop some of these medications prior to the procedure.
  • If you are pregnant or suspect that you are pregnant, you should notify your physician.
  • You will be asked to fast for eight hours before the procedure, generally after midnight.
  • Your physician may request a blood test prior to the procedure to determine how long it takes your blood to clot.
  • You may receive a sedative prior to the procedure to help you relax.
  • Notify your physician if you have a pacemaker.
  • The area around the surgical site may be shaved.
  • If you smoke, you should stop smoking as soon as possible prior to the procedure. This may improve your chances for a successful recovery from surgery and benefit your overall health status, as smoking increases clot formation in the blood.
  • If your physician determines that carotid artery angioplasty with stenting is the appropriate treatment for your carotid artery disease, you may be started on medication to help prevent more blockage in the carotid arteries such as aspirin and clopidogrel (PlavixA) before the procedure.