Stroke

What is a stroke?
A stroke occurs when a blockage in a blood vessel interrupts the flow of oxygen to the brain.

What causes a stroke?
Strokes are most often caused by emboli (blood clot or debris) to the brain.

Risk factors for stroke
Risk factors include heart disease, high blood pressure, smoking, high blood cholesterol, and family history of stroke.

Stroke Screening and Prevention
Noninvasive stroke screening tests at NYU Medical Center.

How is a stroke diagnosed?
Diagnosis of stroke and risk of stroke: noninvasive carotid ultrasound, blood pressure tests, and cardiac rhythm tests.

Stroke Treatment
Strokes caused by arterial blockage are often treated by carotid endarterectomy surgery to remove the plaque buildup in the carotid artery.

Why choose NYU for stroke treatment?
NYU’s surgeons lead the nation in carotid endarterectomy performance, research, and implementation, with extraordinary surgery success rates.

NYU Surgeons Who Treat Stroke
Doctors in NYC who treat patients with stroke and high risk of stroke.

What is a stroke?

The brain receives about 25% of the body’s blood supply, but it cannot store oxygen. Brain cells require a constant supply of oxygen from the carotid artery to stay healthy and function properly.

A stroke occurs when a blockage in a blood vessel interrupts the flow of oxygen to the brain. Reducing the brain’s supply of oxygen for even a short period of time can damage brain tissue and leave an individual with a range of impaired motor, visual, speaking and cognitive functioning.

Stroke is the most common neurological disorder and one of the top 3 most common major illnesses in the United States. Strokes affect more that 500,000 people each year.

Strokes are most often caused by emboli (blood clot or debris) to the brain (see below: "What causes a stroke?").

Risk factors for stroke include heart disease, high blood pressure, smoking, high blood cholesterol, and family history of stroke (see below: "Risk factors for stroke").

More information about stroke is available on the Society for Vascular Surgery website.

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What causes a stroke?

Up to 80% of strokes are causes by emboli to the brain.

Emboli are blood clots or particles that most commonly arise from plaque buildup in the carotid arteries (atheroembolic debris). The plaque breaks loose from the walls of arteries and travels through the body as the blood circulates. As arteries become more blocked with plaque, they become more likely to fragment and embolize.

The carotid arteries, located in the neck, directly supply oxygen to a large portion of the brain. Emboli from the carotid artery may become lodged in the small arteries within the brain, resulting in decreased oxygen to the brain, causing stroke or a small area of brain death.

Strokes may also be caused by bleeding within the brain. A stroke caused by a blocked artery is treated differently than a stroke caused by brain bleeding (see below: "Stroke Treatment").

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Risk factors for stroke

You may be at risk for stroke if you have:

  • heart disease
  • hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • a smoking habit
  • elevated blood cholesterol levels
  • a family history of stroke

Stroke Screening and Prevention

NYU Vascular Screening Center
530 First Avenue (at 32nd Street)
New York, NY 10016

Schedule an appointment: (212) 263-3919
Fee: $275.00

Vascular screening tests are not currently covered by Medicare. Cash, checks or credit cards are accepted.

NYU Noninvasive Vascular Screening Tests

  1. Modified ultrasound of the carotid arteries (to detect atherosclerosis and vascular conditions that may lead to strokes)
  2. Ultrasound of the abdominal blood vessel (to detect the presence of abdominal aortic aneurysms)
  3. Measurement of blood pressure in the arms and legs (to detect blockage in the leg arteries)

Participants and their physicians will receive the test results.

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How is a stroke diagnosed?

The detection of carotid artery narrowing can be an important part of a program to prevent stroke. Carotid artery narrowing can be easily and accurately detected with a duplex ultrasound scan and an arterial Doppler test. These tests take minutes to perform, and are routinely conducted in the NYU Noninvasive Vascular Laboratory.

NYU’s Stroke Prevention Program screens patients with stroke risk factors by performing abbreviated carotid ultrasound, blood pressure tests, and cardiac rhythm tests.

NYU stroke specialists assess a patient’s risk of stroke by asking patients questions about their personal health, lifestyle, and family history of disease. Many patients with vascular disease have risk factors for stroke (heart disease, hypertension, smoking, high cholesterol, and family history).

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Stroke Treatment

A stroke caused by atheroembolic debris from the carotid artery is treated entirely differently than a stroke caused by bleeding within the brain.

If the stroke is caused by a blockage, a carotid endarterectomy may be performed to remove the buildup of plaque in the carotid artery.

Large-scale studies conducted in the U.S. and Canada have proven that carotid endarterectomy surgery is effective in preventing stroke. NYU vascular surgeons lead the nation in carotid endarterectomy research and implementation.

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Why choose NYU for stroke treatment?

Large-scale studies conducted in the U.S. and Canada over the last decade have proven that carotid endarterectomy surgery is effective in preventing stroke.

Vascular surgeons at NYU Medical Center are national leaders in this field, performing over 300 carotid endarterectomy surgeries a year and directing numerous clinical trials to evaluate and debate the use of angioplasty and stents over carotid endarterectomy in treating carotid atherosclerosis.

NYU's vascular surgeons have extraordinary success in performing carotid endarterectomies, including a 1–2% perioperative complication rate and a 1.5% morbidity rate.

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Our Stroke Specialists

Vascular Surgery
550 First Avenue
New York, NY 10016
1-877-4-NYUCVI (698284)

Mark A. Adelman, M.D.
Chief of Vascular Surgery

Neal Cayne, M.D.
Director of the NYU Endovascular Surgery Program

Glenn R. Jacobowitz, M.D.
Vice Chief of the NYU Division of Vascular Surgery / Director of Vascular Surgical Services at Tisch Hospital

Lowell S. Kabnick, M.D.
Director of the NYU Vein Center

Patrick J. Lamparello, M.D.
Vice-Chair of Vascular Surgery / Director of the Vascular Surgery Fellowship Program

Thomas Maldonado, M.D.
Chief of Vascular Surgery, Bellevue Hospital

Firas F. Mussa, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Surgery at the NYU School of Medicine

Thomas S. Riles, M.D.
Associate Dean for Medical Education and Technology / Frank C. Spencer Professor of Surgery

Caron Rockman, M.D.
Director of Medical Education and the Director of Clinical Research for the NYU Division of Vascular Surgery

Frank J. Veith, M.D.
The First U.S. Surgeon to Perform an Endovascular Aneurysm Repair

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