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Only one carotid artery?

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Unread 09-27-2009, 01:08 AM   #1
gershonb
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Confused Only one carotid artery?

Hi everyone

I posted my history of concussions in another thread. Hockey, in welcoming me to the forum, urged me to get a Neuropsych evaluation ASAP. Well, I got referred for this, but in a weird way. I had an MRI of my pituitary, because the levels were going haywire. Turns out the pituitary is intact, with no tumors. My hormone levels are still haywire. What was weird was that the MRI revealed that I have only one artery that carries blood to the brain, on the left. On the right, where the other one is supposed to be, there is--nothing. My first thought was that I should have read through that entire parts list before exiting the spacecraft. The endocrinologist referred me STAT to a neurologist (only way I can explain getting a neuro appointment the next week) for referral for a full neuropsych workup. Evidently, the left one is a little bigger to take up the slack, but there probably have been some cylinders misfiring all along. Weirdest thing I've heard of in about three days.

Has anyone out there ever heard of having only one carotid artery? Anybody got a spare one, Right side, 1952 model?

thanks

gershonb
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Unread 09-27-2009, 06:36 AM   #2
Hockey
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Wow! All these years and all the problems you've had to deal with and nobody ever spotted this major "structural defect." It just goes to show, once again, how shabby the treatment for folks with brain injuries/issues really is. Seriously, if you'd been having chest pain do you think it would have taken this long to discover a missing valve or blocked artery?

Do you have this massive urge to gift wrap your scan and send it to all the doctors who ever dismissed your symptoms as minor or psychological? I loved your joke about the aliens and admire you for being able to keep your sense of humour through all this.

Keep us posted as things move along and know that we are all pulling for you.

Cheers
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Unread 09-27-2009, 02:48 PM   #3
gershonb
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Thanks for the Wow!, Hockey. To be honest, I don't know how scared I'm supposed to be with this thing. I'm also wondering if the seven years I spent studying martial arts in my 30s and 40s damaged anything. I studied Aikido, which is a spiritual art and strictly defensive, but you do a lot of rolls and get thrown down a lot. I never concussed (to my knowledge) during this time because you're trained to fall. That training never leaves--recently I tripped on new pavement and fell flat on my face but the only thing hurt was my glasses. Of course, I guess that was more G's applied to the brain. I must have been thrown on the mat hundreds of times during those years. And here I had been begging to get back on the mat and the doctors still were saying no. Glad I didn't.

See, when someone in 1987 tells you that something is insignificant, you tend to file it away, because of the authority we give to doctors. Nobody every caught the missing artery because they weren't scanning that low in my cranium. Aliens? I thought that all of us came from a spaceship. I do remember the parts list--it was 680 pages long and I had a headache anyway.

More later. It's almost Yom Kippur

gershonb
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Unread 10-14-2009, 10:03 PM   #4
sunshine1alb
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I believe you are supposed to have two arteries on each side, an internal and external carotid artery.. There are many older people walking around with a blocked carotid artery, which can cause a stroke. If you were born with one missing, then your body has probably compensated with what you were born with. However, it is important that you be careful about your diet and blood pressure to prevent the build up of plaque in the arteries.. With only one you would be at a higher risk of transient ischemic attacks or worse, stroke.
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Unread 10-14-2009, 10:44 PM   #5
Mark in Idaho
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We have two vertebral arteries that feed the same areas. They usually only pick up a small portion of the load. Maybe yours were picking up more than usual.

I can imagine an ultrasound technician trying to do a carotid ultrasound and not finding a blood flow signal. It would be interesting to watch him try to figure things out. Can you imagine someone trying to take your pulse on that side? They might think you are dead.

Maybe you want to get a tattoo that says "No pulse this side."

Did you have a normal MRI or was it a MRI/MRA. MRI's do not show arteries as well as MRI/MRA's do. With an MRA, they first do an MRI, then repeat it leaving out the blood signal. When they subtract the second image from the first, what is left is the signal or image of the blood.

I have seen mine. Very interesting. I have a 'pouch' in one of the vertebral arteries just above where it exits the vertebra.
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59 years old, retired due to disability, married 34 years, father of three, grandfather of four, Suffered a serious concussion at 10 years old (1965) stopped most driving after concussion at 46 years old (2001), Post Concussion Syndrome/Multiple Concussion/Impact Syndrome with PTSD, immediate/short term visual and auditory memory problems, slowed processing speed, visual/auditory processing difficulties, insomnia, absence seizures, OCD, 14 concussions since first concussion at 8 years old, Taking paroxetine for 14 years and gabapentin for 12 years. Added L-Tryptophan and stopped paroxetine after 3 months of tapering. I currently take 500 mgs of L-Tryptophan AM, 500 mgs noon, and 500 mgs PM.


As of Nov 15th, Due to high stress issues resulting in PTSD, docs put me on 3 meds. Clonazepam but only for 30 days ) .125 mgs twice daily (Doc presc. .25 mgs 2x daily but half a tablet is good) , citalopram (Celexa), an SSRI , and olanzapine (Zyprexa), an atypical anti-psychotic that usually causes weight gain before bed. I lost over 30 pounds since mid July. It just stopped the weight loss. Took me off the gabapentin. I am feeling better than I have in years.

This great feeling only lasted a month. Back to the same old PCS doldrums.

May 2014, I am off the olanzapine due to a 6 fold price increase. Back on 600 mgs of gabapentin before bed.

I am also taking L-Theanine to help with GABA regulation


"Be Still and Know That I am God" Psalm 46:10
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Unread 10-15-2009, 07:54 PM   #6
gershonb
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Hi Markinidaho

I had a normal MRI for the pituitary in which someone noticed the "missing artery." There is a sort of pulse on the right side. The neurologist ordered an MRA which I'll have this Monday. He wants to see if it was never there or was damaged. If it was, it was probably when I was 11 months old and I went out of my crib onto my head and fractured my skull. The neurologist also ordered a thorough sleep study again since I have a history of central apnea, and a neuropsych exam. There is evidence that the left artery is somewhat bigger, probably to compensate. The guy said that if you are born with this, it's "no big deal." Typical.
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Unread 01-14-2010, 03:55 PM   #7
FlyGirl33
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Thumbs up One Carotid Artery!! : )

Hello! It is great to finally meet someone like me!! : ) I have been a marathon runner for 17 years. (I was five minutes away from qualifying for Bostons marathon 2008 so close..: )) I also was born with only have one carotid artery! Do not be scared! At birth your brain compensated for the lack of a secondary carotid artery. You formed more pathways in your brain to allow the brain to be well supplied with blood and oxygen. I recommend exercise! Keeping yourself healthy is the best thing you can do! Reducing your risks of blood clot, high blood pressure, plaque build up or stroke would be something to think about for when you are in your eighties. (Quit smoking or drinking if you do either or both!)
Don't get scared about one carotid..You are just unique like me! : )
FlyGirl33
If you have questions let me know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gershonb View Post
Hi everyone

I posted my history of concussions in another thread. Hockey, in welcoming me to the forum, urged me to get a Neuropsych evaluation ASAP. Well, I got referred for this, but in a weird way. I had an MRI of my pituitary, because the levels were going haywire. Turns out the pituitary is intact, with no tumors. My hormone levels are still haywire. What was weird was that the MRI revealed that I have only one artery that carries blood to the brain, on the left. On the right, where the other one is supposed to be, there is--nothing. My first thought was that I should have read through that entire parts list before exiting the spacecraft. The endocrinologist referred me STAT to a neurologist (only way I can explain getting a neuro appointment the next week) for referral for a full neuropsych workup. Evidently, the left one is a little bigger to take up the slack, but there probably have been some cylinders misfiring all along. Weirdest thing I've heard of in about three days.

Has anyone out there ever heard of having only one carotid artery? Anybody got a spare one, Right side, 1952 model?

thanks

gershonb
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Unread 08-07-2010, 08:29 AM   #8
Ohio Girl
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Thumbs Up having one Carotid Artery

I to have only one carotid artery. My left carotids were severly damaged while in surgery for a bone fusion in the Cervical area. i was told that the drill slipped, caught the carotid and mangled it. This happened 30 years ago. My last MRA showed the right carotid had expanded to carry the blood flow. The basal artery in the back of the head, had also grown to accomadate the blood flow. The Circle of Willis was also fine. i am so blessed to be alive. I have Horners Syndrome on the left eye, as part due to the lost of the Carotid on that side. From what I have been told when this happened to me I was only 1 of 2 people that survived aaccident like this.

The doctors like in the ER look at me like I am crazy, when tell them I don't have an artery on that side. When they go to listen, they have a priceless look on their faces. Another thing that I have is PTSD, I play that in my head over and over again. The trauma is what I went through after the operation. God has been good to me. I should have been dead. I am writing a book about that ordeal.
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Unread 08-26-2010, 12:32 PM   #9
FlyGirl33
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Default One carotid artery!

With on carotid artery, how old are you all? Are you taking a asprin daily? What are you doing to keep healthy?
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Unread 10-25-2010, 11:35 AM   #10
Juan Cahone
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Recently achieved a massive headache at a very inappropriate time on my
55th birthday. With my head still a little sore, went to the doctor; got an MRI/MRA and found something very interesting, 100% blockage in my left interior carotid artery. I'm curious what you folks have been told about longevity, how it affects your life, etc. Doc seemed to downplay it but as I was leaving said "wouldn't let a chiropractor adjust your neck". That kind of freaked me out but have yet to find anything conclusive about living with just one. I have been active my whole life (grew up a swimmer) and in relatively great health. Was diagnosed and treated for testicular cancer which I found out on my 40th birthday. Other than that, always healthy and stayed away from doctors, guessing I need to stay away from major birthdays as well. cjes
Quote:
Originally Posted by gershonb View Post
Hi everyone

I posted my history of concussions in another thread. Hockey, in welcoming me to the forum, urged me to get a Neuropsych evaluation ASAP. Well, I got referred for this, but in a weird way. I had an MRI of my pituitary, because the levels were going haywire. Turns out the pituitary is intact, with no tumors. My hormone levels are still haywire. What was weird was that the MRI revealed that I have only one artery that carries blood to the brain, on the left. On the right, where the other one is supposed to be, there is--nothing. My first thought was that I should have read through that entire parts list before exiting the spacecraft. The endocrinologist referred me STAT to a neurologist (only way I can explain getting a neuro appointment the next week) for referral for a full neuropsych workup. Evidently, the left one is a little bigger to take up the slack, but there probably have been some cylinders misfiring all along. Weirdest thing I've heard of in about three days.

Has anyone out there ever heard of having only one carotid artery? Anybody got a spare one, Right side, 1952 model?

thanks

gershonb
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