Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) is a procedure used to remove plaque and clots from the carotid arteries. Endarterectomy may help prevent a stroke from occurring in persons with symptoms with a carotid artery narrowing of 70 percent or more.
Carotid artery disease, also called carotid artery stenosis, occurs when the carotid arteries, the main blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood to the brain, become narrowed. The narrowing of the carotid arteries is most commonly related to atherosclerosis (a buildup of plaque, which is a deposit of fatty substances, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium and fibrin in the inner lining of the artery). Because the carotid arteries deliver blood to the brain, carotid artery disease can lead to transient ischemic attack and/or stroke.