Parwest Health & Lifestyles

Doris Dixon, Carotid Artery Surgery Patient

Diagnosed with carotid artery disease and peripheral artery disease, Pigeon Forge resident Doris Dixon often experienced skyrocketing blood pressure and could feel her heartbeat pounding in her ears. After feeling tightness in her chest, she was referred to Scott Callicutt, MD, a Premier Surgical vascular surgeon at Parkwest Medical Center.

Arterial disease occurs when plaque builds up over time in the arteries, preventing adequate blood flow to various parts of the body. Dr. Callicutt determined that she had severe 90 percent carotid stenosis, leaving her at high risk of stroke.

Dr. Callicutt recently performed a “textbook perfect” carotid artery surgery on Dixon, who says she couldn’t have had better people caring for her at Parkwest. “In the middle of a pandemic, they took care of me, even making me hot tea.”

Dixon was impressed with Dr. Callicutt’s confidence and explanation of everything that would happen. “I’ll put it this way,” she says. “No one else will touch an artery of mine except him.”

Dr. Scott Callicutt, Vascular Surgeon

During Dixon’s stent surgery, Dr. Callicutt used a new method called Transcarotid
Artery Revascularization, or TCAR. During the procedure, the direction of blood flow is reversed so that blood and stroke-causing plaque flows away from the brain
while the physician places the stent. After the stent is placed successfully, the flow of blood is reversed, resuming its normal direction.

Dr. Callicutt says Dixon’s age and anatomy made her an excellent candidate for the TCAR procedure. Dr. Callicutt says Dixon was at risk of a having a stroke and experiencing other complications, such as losing her vision, ability to speak or possible paralysis.

Dr. Callicutt explains, “Thanks to the evolution of this technology, with this procedure we are able to stent the carotid artery more safely than we’ve been able to do before, which protects the patient and reduces the risk of a stroke.”

The TCAR procedure prevents plaque from traveling to the brain during carotid artery surgery.

To her surprise, Dixon did not experience any pain following her procedure. “I had wonderful results, and recovery was easy,” she says. She spent one night at Parkwest after her procedure and was moving around the next day.

Dixon’s labs are normal and she no longer has to take prescription medications for her condition. She is able to tend her flower gardens, which fill her with great pride.

She expresses tremendous gratitude for the entire team of medical professionals
who cared for her, especially Dr. Callicutt. “He is exceptional, and so is everyone he’s connected with.”

Working Out the Kinks
Dr. Callicutt is passionate about helping his patients solve lifelong problems,
not just providing a temporary solution. He compares a blocked artery to a kink in a garden hose, stopping the flow and preventing the hose from delivering water to the grass.

The three highest risk factors for carotid or peripheral artery disease are diabetes, hypertension and smoking. As with any disease or chronic condition, doctors monitor patients with symptoms and recommend lifestyle habits such as not smoking and eating a healthy diet and exercising.

For more details about the TCAR procedure, visit our TCAR page at