Treatment of asymptomatic carotid artery disease: Similar early outcomes after carotid stenting for high-risk patients and endarterectomy for standard-risk patients

Leopoldo A. Marine, Brian G. Rubin, Rishindra Reddy, Luis A. Sanchez, Juan C. Parodi, Gregorio A. Sicard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background: The role of carotid angioplasty and stenting (CAS) in the treatment of asymptomatic patients with carotid disease remains controversial. The purpose of this report is to compare outcomes in asymptomatic patients treated with CAS and carotid endarterectomy (CEA). This was the initial experience performing CAS for most of the surgeons. For comparison, we also report our outcomes in standard-risk patients treated concurrently with CEA during the same period of time. Methods: A retrospective, nonrandomized review of asymptomatic patients undergoing CEA or CAS at Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis was done. Patients with >70% asymptomatic carotid stenosis treated between September 2003 and April 2005 were identified. CEA was the first therapeutic consideration in all patients. CAS was reserved for high-risk patients. Thirty-day outcomes of stroke or death were recorded. During this time interval, 248 patients were treated including with 93 CAS and with 145 CEA. Symptomatic or clinically detected adverse outcomes such as myocardial infarction (MI), arrhythmia, renal failure, or pulmonary complications were noted but were not the primary end points of this review. This study addresses only the periprocedural outcomes of CEA and CAS in asymptomatic patients. No data >30-day follow-up are included. Results: During this period, 93 CAS and 145 CEA procedures were done in asymptomatic patients. Patient characteristics in both groups were similar. Carotid protection devices were used in 91.4% of CAS patients. The results in the CAS group showed one death (1.1%) and one stroke (1.1%). In the CEA group, three strokes occurred (2.1%, P = 0.9999), one associated with death (0.7%, P = 0.9999). The CAS group had 1.34 ± 0.83 risk factors vs 0.39 ± 0.58 in the CEA group (P < .0001). Median CAS and CEA length of stay was 1 day. Conclusions: CAS for asymptomatic carotid stenosis demonstrated equivalent outcomes compared with CEA, despite CAS being reserved for use in a disadvantaged subset of high-risk patients owing to anatomic risk factors or medical comorbidities. These results suggest CAS should be considered a reasonable treatment option in the high-risk but asymptomatic patient. Enthusiasm for CAS should be tempered by the recognition that long-term outcomes in CAS-treated asymptomatic patients remain unknown.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)953-958
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2006


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