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The Development of Carotid Artery Surgery

Jesse E. Thompson, MD
Arch Surg. 1973;107(5):643-648. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1973.01350230003002.
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It is my purpose in this address to review the development of carotid artery surgery as it relates to the problem of cerebrovascular insufficiency caused by extracranial atherosclerotic occlusive disease. We are indebted to many members of this organization for numerous advances in this field during the past two decades.

History  The word "carotid" is derived from the Greek term meaning to stupefy or to plunge into deep sleep. According to Rufus of Ephesus (circa 100 AD) the term was applied to the arteries of the neck because compression of these vessels produced stupor or sleep. Ambroise Paré has recounted this phenomenon as follows: "[The] two branches which they call carotides or soporales, the sleepy arteries, because they being obstructed, or any way stopt we presently fall asleep."1 According to Dandy,2 Hippocrates and Galen were aware that hemiplegia resulted from a lesion in the opposite side of the


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