In Singapore, stroke is the 4th leading cause of death and a major contributor to long term disability. A stroke or "brain attack" can occur when one of the major arteries in the neck (the carotid artery) is narrowed by fatty deposits (plaques). Such "hardening" of the carotid artery can lead to damage to part of the brain, either as a consequence of reduced blood flow or because small pieces of "emboli" break off from the plaque and lodge into arteries in the brain or eye. This ultimately results in an ischaemic type of stroke, which accounts for 75% of all strokes. Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) is a surgical procedure performed to reduce the risk of stroke. It can therefore help prevent an ischaemic stroke in certain patients with carotid artery stenosis.
This procedure does not apply to haemorrhagic strokes (bleeding in the brain), which make up the other 25% of strokes.
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