Sharyn’s Story

A trip to the eye doctor for blurred vision Sharyn was experiencing led to the discovery of carotid artery stenosis in her neck, a condition treated via transcarotid artery revascularization (TCAR) by Dr. Joseph Ricotta, National Medical Director, Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy at Tenet Healthcare and a specialist in this type of TCAR treatment. Read Sharyn’s Story (below). Watch Sharyn’s Video Testimonial

I was at home straightening up the house and all of a sudden started seeing double of everything. I was scared and laid down until it went away. A week later, the double vision returned. I decided I should get my eyes checked and made an appointment at my eye institute. The neuro-ophthalmologist ran a series of tests and sent them to a university health system in Miami. There, a vascular neurologist found that one of my carotid arteries in my neck had severe carotid artery blockage, but the tests for diplopia, or double vision, came back negative and I never experienced double vision again. Luckily, I found vascular surgeon, Dr. Joseph Ricotta, who is an innovator in the treatment of carotid disease and is the first in Florida to perform the TCAR (transcarotid artery revascularization) procedure for treatment of this ailment.

Before my meeting with Dr. Ricotta, and since my carotid artery stenosis was asymptomatic, I thought following watchful waiting would suffice until the percentage of blockage warranted surgery. My daughter and son, my husband Jerry and our grandchildren, were upset that I was just going to wait, they were concerned I was going to let it go. In my mind, I was healthy and fit. During my consultation at the Prime Vascular Institute in Delray Beach, Dr. Ricotta took the time to explain everything. Dr. Ricotta let me know that plaque was building inside of one of my carotid arteries and needed removal because of a high risk of having a future stroke. In addition, Dr. Ricotta described in detail the benefits of TCAR compared to the standard invasive carotid endarterectomy and traditional stenting through the groin.

Dr. Ricotta said the TCAR procedure is a safer, faster, less invasive option. Patients have a much faster recovery with better outcomes. Dr. Ricotta explained the minimally invasive TCAR procedure with access to the carotid artery, through a small incision above the clavicle. Then, Dr. Ricotta inserts a pliable sheath into the carotid artery and links it to a component reversing blood flow away from the brain in an effort to avert, by use of filter, any clot forming plaque from traveling to the brain. During the TCAR, Dr. Ricotta and his team filter the blood and then return it to the body through an additional sheath in the femoral vein of the thigh.

As the TCAR procedure progresses and blood flow continues to be reversed, Dr. Ricotta uses a neuroprotection system to perform a balloon angioplasty and stenting opening blood flow in the veins. Once Dr. Ricotta places the stent to eliminate the plaque from the carotid artery, he turns the reversal flow mechanism off and blood flows back freely to the brain into its intended path free from stroke inducing plaque.

I happened to be Dr. Ricotta’s 200th TCAR patient, an impressive milestone. Prior to having my TCAR procedure, my husband Jerry and I found it reassuring that Dr. Ricotta’s success with the TCAR procedure helped Delray Medical Center become a National TCAR Center of Excellence every year since 2018. In addition, Dr. Ricotta holds the recognition of TCAR Clinical Operator of Excellence. I had my TCAR procedure performed by Dr. Ricotta and the care I received from him and at Delray Medical Center could not have been better.

My husband Jerry said I am very anxious when it comes to surgery and he is right, I was fearful and nervous at first while contemplating having this procedure. Jerry asked Dr. Ricotta my request of being out (unconscious) even before they did the surgical prep. Dr. Ricotta and his team honored this request, and even prior to going in the operating room, I was already out. I saw nothing and that was important to me. The procedure went extremely well. I was so thankful I felt nothing. Afterward, instead of the old style of stitching up the wound, Dr. Ricotta used a type of medical glue on my incision area, which resulted in less scarring.

During follow-up at Dr. Ricotta’s Prime Vascular Institute office in Delray Beach, the staff was very courteous, helped us with convenient appointment times, and were very friendly, willing to help with anything I needed.

Jerry and I definitely made the right decision in choosing Dr. Ricotta for my carotid artery care. Family is everything to both Jerry and I, We are so excited this health scare is behind me because we can now focus on being great grandparents to our great grandchild born after my surgery. Now with this health ailment behind me we also look forward to resuming traveling. In the past, we had done lot of traveling to places like France, Israel, China, Italy and Hawaii. Thanks to Dr. Ricotta I am able to look forward to spending time with my family, traveling and most importantly living a better quality of life.

  • This testimonial reflects the experience and outcome of this patient. Actual results will vary.
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