FELTON — After a move from Florida to Delaware coupled with the start of the pandemic, Edward Eison grew increasingly concerned about his health status. His doctor in Florida had been monitoring his carotid artery disease, which occurs when plaque builds up in the main artery of the neck that supplies oxygen-rich blood to the brain. Almost nine months had passed by the time COVID restrictions eased and Mr. Eison felt comfortable enough to get established with a primary care doctor and a vascular surgeon in his new home state.
He found Bayhealth vascular surgeon Paul Fedalen, MD, who ran some tests and revealed that Mr. Eison’s left carotid artery had gone from 77 to 91% blocked. The blockage had progressed to a point that a procedure was now necessary to maintain his health, said Dr. Fedalen.
Carotid artery disease is a common but serious condition that often develops without warning signs. If left untreated, it can lead to a stroke. In fact, it is estimated to be the source of stroke in up to a third of nationwide cases.
The multidisciplinary Transcarotid Artery Revascularization program at Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus is designed to address patients’ carotid artery disease through a safe and innovative technique.
A vascular surgeon and interventional cardiologist work jointly to perform the minimally invasive procedure. Prior to stenting the clogged carotid artery, blood flow is temporarily reversed during the operation so any fragments of plaque that could break off move away from the brain, which decreases the chance of stroke.
“Dr. Fedalen clearly explained my treatment options and the advantage of the TCAR procedure. I also met Interventional Cardiologist Dr. [Khaled] Eljazzar, who would be performing it with Dr. Fedalen. I felt very comfortable with both of them right away and had complete trust in their abilities,” said Mr. Eison.
Clogged carotid arteries typically come without symptoms, as was the case with Eison. Having the procedure done brought him peace of mind. He was able to let go of the worry that the blockage would continue to grow and potentially lead to a dire health event.
“My entire hospital experience at Bayhealth was amazing,” <r/ Eison said. “I was pleased to find such capable doctors and was impressed by the professionalism of everyone I encountered. From the nursing staff to the young lady who served my meals—each of them went above and beyond to make sure all my needs were addressed quickly and that I was well taken care of.”
A retired electrical engineer, Mr. Eison and his wife of 48 years settled in Felton to be closer to their daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren, and play a bigger part in their lives. With minimal recovery time after his procedure, he jumped right in to helping with remote schooling for his three granddaughters—ages 6, 8 and 13. To be there and be healthy at a time when his family needed him most Mr. Eison described as “priceless.”