Making Medical History at Concord Hospital

Herbert's Story

Herbert Ralph of Hillsboro made medical history at Concord Hospital this year. He was the first patient at the Hospital to undergo an advanced endovascular procedure that reduces high stroke risk caused by a blocked carotid artery.

The procedure — carotid stenting — is designed for patients not eligible for standard open surgery because of heart conditions, previous traditional carotid surgery or because of the location of the blockage.

Karen and Herbert Ralph

Karen and Herbert Ralph

Herbert, who is 68, needed carotid stenting because three years earlier, he had had traditional open surgery — in which doctors surgically opened the artery and cleaned out a blockage.

The carotid arteries on the left and right sides of the neck carry blood to the brain. Plaque building up inside reduces the flow of blood, causing a condition called carotid stenosis. If pieces of plaque break off inside the artery, they can cause a stroke or death.

“I was feeling slow, sluggish,” said Herbert. “I thought that was normal for me. I didn’t think of my blood vessels being clogged. I just wasn’t getting enough blood.”

Dr. Sebastiano DiDato of Concord Hospital Medical Group Concord Surgical Associates performed a carotid stenting procedure on Herbert’s left carotid artery in January. At the time, tests showed the artery on the right side of Herbert’s neck also was blocked, so he underwent traditional surgery to remove that blockage two months later.

He was awake for the stenting procedure, but under general anesthesia for the traditional surgery.

Both procedures were successful, reducing Herbert’s risk of stroke and changing his life.

“I’m up and about,” said Herbert, a disabled Vietnam War veteran. “I’m not sleeping as much. I feel more energetic. It gave me life.”