Newswise — Hackensack Meridian Health’s academic medical centers, Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, NJ and  Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, NJ, are just two of only a few hospitals in the country and two of only three hospitals in New Jersey to offer an innovative new treatment that dramatically reduces the risk of stroke in patients with blocked carotid arteries, the major blood vessels that deliver blood to the brain.   The minimally invasive procedure, called TransCarotid Artery Revascularization (TCAR), employs a new FDA-approved neuroprotection system that temporarily reverses blood flow in the artery during the procedure to prevent dangerous plaque from traveling to the brain and causing a stroke. 

“We are proud to offer this cutting-edge treatment option for high-risk patients across New Jersey and the region,” said Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health.  “Hackensack Meridian Health continues to lead the way in innovation, employing the latest technology to provide patients with the world-class, patient-centered care they deserve.”

M. Usman Nasir Khan, M.D., FACS, chief of vascular surgery at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, and David O’Connor, M.D., FACS, vascular surgeon and director of vascular research and assistant clinical professor of surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center, are two of just three credentialed physicians in New Jersey to perform TCAR. Drs. Khan and O’Connor are among the first in the country to gain expertise with the TCAR procedure.

“TCAR is a revolutionary procedure that addresses carotid artery disease with a much lower risk of stroke as compared to more traditional approaches,” said Dr. Khan. Dr. Kahn is the only physician in the central and southern region of New Jersey to perform TCAR, and his expertise has established Jersey Shore University Medical Center as a center of excellence in this area of cardiovascular and neuroscience expertise.

Prior to TCAR, the main treatment option for severe carotid artery disease was a surgical procedure called carotid endarterectomy. While this technique protects the brain during the procedure, the large incision leaves a visible and lengthy scar across the neck and carries risks of surgical complications including bleeding, infection, heart attack, and cranial nerve injuries that can cause issues with swallowing, speaking, and sensation in the face. 

“This new, cutting-edge procedure helps us prevent stroke in patients who are higher risk for traditional surgery, many of whom were previously considered untreatable,” added Dr. O’Connor. “With TCAR, we can perform a minimally-invasive procedure through a tiny incision in the lower neck that offers a safe alternative compared to traditional surgery, opening the door for many new patients to be safely and effectively treated.”

TCAR is a state-of-the-art procedure that blends the advantages of traditional carotid endarterectomy (incision in the neck) and stenting.  This safe procedure requires a small incision point in the neck (near the collar bone) and another small incision point in the groin. TCAR is less invasive, reduces the risk of stroke, and has a quick recovery (with most patients going home in less than 24 hours.)

Jersey Shore University Medical Center began offering the TCAR procedure to eligible patients this past summer. “The clinical team at Jersey Shore University Medical Center is thrilled to provide this cutting-edge and truly life-saving treatment option to our patients across central and southern New Jersey,” said Kenneth N. Sable, M.D., MBA, FACEP, president of Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

At Hackensack University Medical Center, Dr. O’Connor performed the first TCAR on a patient in November. “TCAR is just the latest example of Hackensack University Medical Center’s commitment to deliver groundbreaking, top-quality, patient-centered services to the patients and families we serve,” added Ihor S. Sawczuk, M.D., FACS, president of Hackensack University Medical Center.

Every year, 15 million people worldwide suffer a stroke, also known as a “brain attack.” Nearly six million dies and another five million are left permanently disabled. Stroke is the second leading cause of disability globally. Carotid artery disease is estimated to be the source of stroke in up to a third of cases and there are 400,000 new diagnoses of carotid artery disease made every year in the United States alone.

“Thanks to Dr. Khan, Dr. O’Connor and the entire vascular team, Hackensack Meridian Health is on the forefront of vascular care and stroke prevention not only here in New Jersey, but across the country,” said John K. Lloyd, Co-CEO, Hackensack Meridian Health. “Together, Hackensack Meridian Health team members are embracing new ideas and changes that are improving outcomes, ensuring we deliver the right care, to the right people, at the right time.”

About Hackensack Meridian Health

Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care. Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 16 hospitals, including three academic medical centers, two children's hospitals and nine community hospitals, two rehabilitation hospitals, physician practices, more than 160 ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, and urgent care facilities. Hackensack Meridian Health has 33,000 team members, more than 6,500 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.

The Network's notable distinctions include having one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America's 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more consecutive years, four hospitals ranked among the top 10 in New Jersey, including Hackensack University Medical Center, the No. 1 hospital, Jersey Shore University Medical Center at No. 4 and Ocean and Riverview Medical Centers tied at No. 8., as ranked by U.S. News and World Report. Other honors include consistently achieving Magnet recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, recipient of the John M. Eisenberg Award for Patient Safety and Quality from The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum, a six-time recipient of Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For," one of the "20 Best Workplaces in Health Care" in the nation, and the number one "Best Place to Work for Women." Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies.

For additional information, please visit