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J Vasc Surg. 2000 May;31(5):918-26.

Improving the outcomes of carotid endarterectomy: results of a statewide quality improvement project.

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University of Iowa College of Medicine, the Iowa Foundation for Medical Care, Des Moines, USA.



The purpose of this study was to establish the statewide outcomes for carotid endarterectomy (CEA) and to facilitate improvement in outcomes through feedback, peer discussion, and ongoing process and outcome measurement.


The Medicare Part A claims files were used to identify all Medicare patients undergoing CEA in Iowa during two 12-month time periods (January 1994-December 1994 and June 1995-May 1996). Medical record abstraction was used to obtain surgical indications, perioperative care process, and outcome information. Confidential reports were provided to each hospital (N = 30) where the procedure was performed. Surgeons performing the procedure (N = 79) were invited to meetings to discuss care process variation and outcomes. Voluntary participation was solicited in a standardized program of ongoing hospital-based data collection of CEA process and outcome data.


The statewide combined stroke or mortality rate decreased from 7.8% in 1994 to 4.0% in the 1995 to 1996 time period (P <.001). Fourteen hospitals, accounting for 74% of the statewide cases, participated in ongoing data collection. The combined stroke or mortality rate in these hospitals decreased significantly (P <.05) over time from 6.5% (1994) to 3.7% (1995-1996) to 1.8% (June 1997-May 1998). The use of intraoperative assessment of the operative site (20% in 1994, 46% in 1997-1998) and patch angioplasty (14% in 1994, 30% in 1997-1998) increased significantly during this time in the participating hospitals.


Confidential feedback of outcome and process data for CEA may lead to change in perioperative care processes and improved outcomes. Standardized community-based outcome analysis should become routine for CEA to ensure that optimum results are being achieved.

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