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Ann Surg. 2001 Oct;234(4):438-45; discussion 445-6.

Carotid endarterectomy in women: challenging the results from ACAS and NASCET.

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  • 1Division of Peripheral Vascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, IL, USA.



To evaluate and compare the short- and long-term outcomes in female and male patients after carotid endarterectomy (CEA).


Randomized carotid trials have clearly shown the benefits of CEA in specific symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. However, the short- and long-term benefits in women appear to be less clear, and the role of CEA among women with carotid disease remains uncertain.


During a 21-year period, 1,204 CEAs were performed, 464 (39%) in women and 739 (61%) in men. Complete follow-up was available in 70% of patients.


Women were less likely to have evidence of coronary artery disease, were more likely to be hypertensive, and had a significantly greater incidence of diabetes. The mean age at CEA was 68.5 +/- 9.5 years for women and 68.0 +/- 8.5 years for men. There were no significant differences in the use of shunts, patching, tacking sutures, or severity of carotid stenoses between men and women. Surgical death rates were nearly identical for asymptomatic and symptomatic patients. Perioperative stroke rates were similar for asymptomatic and symptomatic patients. Life-table stroke-free rates at 1, 5, and 8 years were similar for asymptomatic women and men and symptomatic women and men. Long-term survival rates at 1, 5, and 8 years were higher for asymptomatic women compared with men and for symptomatic women compared with men. As a result, stroke-free survival rates at these follow-up intervals were greater for asymptomatic women compared with men, and for symptomatic women compared to men.


The results from this study challenge the conclusions from the Asymptomatic Carotid Endarterectomy Study and the North American Symptomatic Carotid Endarterectomy Trial regarding the benefits of CEA in women. Female gender did not adversely affect early or late survival, stroke-free, or stroke-free death rates after CEA. The authors conclude that CEA can be performed safely in women with asymptomatic and symptomatic carotid artery disease, and physicians should expect comparable benefits and outcomes in women and men undergoing CEA.

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