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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Does carotid artery blockage cause headache?

I have carotid artery blockage in the left side of my neck. I have had a stroke and 2 yrs ago was told that the blockage was 75% blocked. For the last month or so I have been having headaches on that side of my head and my left ear has been bleeding some also. I have had spells that I have passed out also. I also have afib. Could this blockage I have be causing these problems and getting worse?
Tue, 19 Jun 2018
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Neurologist 's  Response
Hello and Welcome to ‘Ask A Doctor’ service. I have reviewed your query and here is my advice.

I read your question carefully and I understand your concern. While carotid artery stenosis does carry its risks, it is unlikely that it is responsible for your headaches. It causes symptoms only if a stroke occurs and in that case there would be other symptoms such as weakness or numbness of the limbs on the right, speech issues, vision loss etc, headache is not a typical manifestation for a stroke in that area. The ear bleeding is certainly not due to it either. As for the passing out spells heart rhythm must be considered as the most likely cause, only if excluded possibility of seizures may be considered through EEG and brain imaging.

Hope I have answered your query. Let me know if I can assist you further.
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