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CPSD runs several research studies looking into the causes, investigation, and management of large artery atherosclerosis, carotid stenosis, vertebral artery disease and intracranial atherosclerosis.


The carotid arteries run up the front of the neck, and divide into the internal and external carotid arteries at the carotid bifurcation. The carotid arteries are crucial for the supply of blood to the brain. 

Narrowing of the carotid arteries due to atherosclerosis, known as 'carotid stenosis', causes almost half of all strokes. In patients who have had a TIA or stroke, the diameter of the carotid arteries is commonly assessed. If severely narrowed, a carotid endarterectomy operation may be performed, to widen the artery, improving blood flow to the brain and reducing the risk of stroke. 


Research at the Centre for the Prevention of Stroke and Dementia has included:

  • Performing large analyses of multiple studies, to demonstrate the benefit of performing carotid endarterectomy within 2 weeks of TIA or stroke symptoms, in patients with severe stenosis
  • Creation of a carotid stenosis risk tool, which calculate's an individuals risk of stroke based upon the degree of stenosis and other clinical features
  • Analyses of data from the Oxford Vascular Study, which highlighted underinvestigation and undertreatment of carotid stenosis in elderly patients with TIA 
  • Oxford Plaque Study Analyses of the composition of atherosclerotic plaques, removed during carotid endarterectomy surgery, to examine which features are associated with stroke. Carotid plaque tissue and venous blood collected during the study is now stored under HTA licence 12217.