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What started as a routine doctor’s appointment for Nevada resident David Lundahl quickly took a turn during a normal part of the exam.

“The provider put his stethoscope over my neck during my check up, and heard a murmur over the right side of my neck,” Lundahl explained.

After a rapid series of tests, confirmations, and an urgent referral to Nevada Vein and Vascular, Lundahl was told he had a life-threatening condition involving a blockage in his carotid artery. The carotid arteries are two of the largest, most important blood vessels in the body as they supply oxygenated blood to the brain. In Lundahl’s case, he had close to an 80% blockage, posing a risk of stroke.

Thankfully, the condition was caught early enough where Lundahl was eligible for a groundbreaking procedure that Dr. Levin and Albright introduced to Northern Nevada. Transcarotid Artery Revascularization, or TCAR, is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that uses an innovative approach to treat carotid blockages. With TCAR, a small incision is made at the neckline, and a surgeon places a tube directly into the carotid artery. The tube is connected to a system that temporarily directs blood flow away from the brain to prevent any loose build up from reaching the brain. Then, a carotid stent is placed to open the artery and allow for a clear, unimpacted flow of blood through the carotid artery. This approach, which is a less-invasive, safer method compared to other methods of stenting, helps to reduce the risk of stroke associated with the procedure on the carotid artery.

In 2022, Dr. Mark Levin and Dr. Janet Albright of Nevada Vein and Vascular partnered with Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center to bring the technology to Northern Nevada, offering patients like Lundahl a life-saving surgical option.

“As a vascular surgeon, there are a number of reasons why I prefer TCAR to other surgical techniques,” Dr. Levin explained. “When carotid stenting is indicated, TCAR affords a lower stroke risk than standard carotid stenting and is an excellent option for high-risk surgical patients, such as those with coronary disease, severe lung disease, heart failure, or those who suffered a recent heart attack. Also, patients report less post-operative pain, and typically recover within a couple days.”

As Lundahl readied for his TCAR procedure, he recalls being confident in his clinical team and appreciative of the communication he was provided along the way.

“I was really impressed with the whole thing,” added Lundahl. “What I was told was exactly what happened. I had very little pain, healed up quickly, and it all went as I was told it would.”

Lundahl underwent a successful TCAR procedure in 2023 and is incredibly appreciative of both the Nevada Vein and Vascular and Saint Mary’s teams.

“I had a great experience,” Lundahl said. “I totally recommend Dr. Levin to anyone in a similar situation and am really happy with how he explained everything to me and with how the procedure went.”

Saint Mary’s and Nevada Vein and Vascular are proud to be able to provide high-quality care and increase access to life-saving interventions for those our community, such as the case with TCAR.

May is Stroke Awareness Month, and this story is featured as a part of our efforts to raise awareness around the importance of getting checked for stroke risk. To learn more about this particular procedure, TCAR, and if it is right for you, please visit Dr. Levin and Dr. Albright both perform TCARs and can be reached at their main office line of 775-323-3000.

Also, to schedule an appointment with a Primary Care Provider, please visit