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Long-term Stroke Risk with Carotid Endarterectomy in Patients with Severe Carotid Stenosis

Informed debate regarding the optimal use of carotid endarterectomy (CEA) for stroke risk reduction requires contemporary assessment of both long-term risk and periprocedural risk. In this study, we report long-term stroke and death risk after CEA in a large integrated health care system. All patients with documented severe (70%-99%) stenosis from 2008 to 2012 who underwent CEA were identified and stratified by asymptomatic or symptomatic indication. Those with prior ipsilateral interventions were excluded. Patients were followed up through 2017 for the primary outcomes of any stroke/death within 30 days of intervention and long-term ipsilateral ischemic stroke; secondary outcomes were any stroke and overall survival. Overall, 1949 patients (63.2% male; mean age, 71.3 ± 8.9 years) underwent 2078 primary CEAs, 1196 (58%) for asymptomatic stenosis and 882 (42%) for symptomatic stenosis. Mean follow-up was 5.5 ± 2.7 years. Median time to surgery was 72.0 (interquartile range, 38.5-198.0) days for asymptomatic patients and 21.0 (interquartile range, 5.0-55.0) days for symptomatic patients (P < .001). Most of the patients' demographics and characteristics were similar in both groups. Controlled blood pressure rates were similar at the time of CEA. Baseline statin use was seen in 60.5% of the asymptomatic group compared with 39.9% in the symptomatic group (P < .001), and statin adherence by 80% medication possession ratio was 19.3% asymptomatic vs 12.4% symptomatic (P < .001). The crude overall 30-day any stroke/death rates were 0.9% and 1.5% for the asymptomatic group and the symptomatic group, respectively. The 5-year risk of ipsilateral stroke and a combined end point of any stroke/death by Kaplan-Meier survival analysis were 2.5% and 28.7% for the asymptomatic group and 4.0% and 31.4% for the symptomatic group, respectively. Unadjusted cumulative all-cause survival was 74.2% for the asymptomatic group and 71.8% for the symptomatic group at 5 years. In a contemporary review of CEA, outcomes for either operative indication show low adverse events perioperatively and low long-term stroke risk up to 5 years. These results are well within consensus guidelines and published trial outcomes and should help inform the discussion around optimal CEA use for severe carotid stenosis.

Authors: Rothenberg KA; Tucker LY; Gologorsky RC; Avins AL; Kuang HC; Faruqi RM; Flint AC; Nguyen-Huynh MN; Chang RW

J Vasc Surg. 2021 03;73(3):983-991. Epub 2020-07-21.

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