Baptist Health Paducah becomes region's only hospital to offer TCAR

January 26, 2022

Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke.

(Paducah, Ky.)  Jan. 10, 2022 — Baptist Health Paducah once again proves it is the area’s heart and stroke care leader by becoming the only hospital in the region to treat carotid artery disease and prevent future strokes using an innovative procedure called transcarotid artery revascularization (TCAR). TCAR is a clinically proven and minimally invasive approach for high surgical risk patients who need carotid artery treatment.

Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke.1 Carotid artery disease is a form of atherosclerosis, or a build-up of plaque, in the two main arteries in the neck that supply oxygen-rich blood to the brain. If left untreated, carotid artery disease can often lead to stroke.  With up to a third of strokes caused by carotid artery disease3, Baptist Health Paducah offers patients minimally invasive options such as TransCarotid Artery Revascularization (TCAR) to prevent future strokes with a faster recovery time and an increased chance of being discharged to home.4

A vascular team consisting of Griffin Bicking, DO, vascular surgeon; Amanda Casebier, RN; Marla Johnson, CFA/CST; Missy O’Conner, CST; Zachary Gillum, CST; Kari Jones, RT and Courtney Hunter, RT, successfully performed the first TCAR procedure at Baptist Health Paducah last month.

“Surgery for carotid artery disease is quite invasive and can lead to complications in patients at risk for an open surgical procedure,” said Griffin Bicking, DO. “A carotid artery is one of the leading causes of stroke. Plaque that builds up in the arteries can block blood flow to the brain. Until now, current treatment options present challenges of their own.”

TCAR is unique in that blood flow is temporarily reversed during the procedure so that any small bits of plaque that may break off are diverted away from the brain, preventing a stroke from happening. A stent is then placed inside the artery to stabilize the plaque, minimizing the risk of a future stroke.

Prior to TCAR, the main treatment option for severe carotid artery disease was an open surgical procedure called carotid endarterectomy (CEA). CEA removes plaque from inside the carotid artery to restore normal blood flow to the brain, but the large incision leaves a visible scar the length of the neck and carries risks of surgical complications, including bleeding, infection, heart attack and cranial nerve injuries that can cause issues with swallowing, speaking and sensation in the face. 

“We are excited to bring this important procedure to our region,” said Bicking. “TCAR combines aspects of cardiology, vascular and cardiac surgery and the close collaboration allows for excellent outcomes. This new procedure allow our patients to spend less time in the hospital and more time at home with their loved ones, as well as a reduced chance for a stroke in the future.”

Surgeons at Baptist Health Paducah offer a broad range of surgical procedures to patients suffering from vascular problems, such traditional surgical repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms, surgical repair of blockages in the arteries of the legs, endarterectomy, angioplasty, thrombectomy/embolectomy, vein stripping to remove varicose veins, as well as several minimally-invasive endovascular procedures.

The TCAR procedure was developed by Sunnyvale, California-based Silk Road Medical, Inc. and includes the ENROUTE® Transcarotid Neuroprotection (N.P.S.) and Stent System – the first devices designed and FDA-approved specifically for TCAR. Additional information about TCAR is available at

For more information about TCAR, phone 270.415.5802.