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Penn State Health, Mount Nittany Health first in Centre County to offer procedure for clearing carotid arteries

A Penn State Health physician in Centre County is now offering a minimally invasive option to treat carotid artery disease. Through a partnership with Mount Nittany Health, Dr. Eugene Simoni, a vascular surgeon, is now performing transcarotid artery revascularization (TCAR) at Mount Nittany Medical Center.

The two carotid arteries – located on both sides of the neck – carry oxygen-rich blood to the brain. If they become significantly narrowed with plaque or a piece of the plaque travels to the brain and causes a stroke or mini-stroke, then treatment may be necessary.

The traditional procedure to remove such blockages – carotid endarterectomy – involves an incision and surgical removal of the plaque to open the carotid artery. However, TCAR is less invasive and protects the brain by rerouting blood from the carotid artery to the femoral vein in the thigh. This produces flow reversal in the carotid artery during the stenting process, causing any debris to flow out of the carotid and into a filter in the tubing before the debris-free blood flows back into the femoral vein. By comparison, TCAR involves less time under anesthesia, smaller incisions and a quicker recovery time.

“Offering this new minimally invasive treatment option for patients with carotid artery blockage advances patient care by reducing the risk of stroke when compared to stenting of the carotid artery from the femoral artery in the leg, reducing heart attack and significantly reducing local nerve damage when compared to carotid endarterectomy,” Simoni said.

Penn State Health physicians are able to admit patients and use Mount Nittany Health’s Medical Center services after going through a stringent credentialing process. This collaboration allows for Mount Nittany Health and Penn State Health to work together to provide a range of state-of-the-art vascular surgery options for patients in the Centre region.

“Mount Nittany Health values our collaboration with Penn State Health. This partnership enables the greater Centre County community to receive best-in-class care close to home,” said Dr. Upendra Thaker, chief medical officer at Mount Nittany Medical Center.

Procedures are conducted in Mount Nittany Health’s hybrid room in the main surgical suite. TCAR is performed by the vascular trained surgical team consisting of radiology technicians, surgical technicians and nurses. The hybrid room was designed to accommodate a range of procedures, as it can be used to perform either endovascular, vascular surgical or a combination of both in one room during a single procedure.

More information about TCAR and its availability in Centre County can be found at

Penn State Health physicians also perform TCAR at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey and St. Joseph Medical Center in Reading.

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