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J Vasc Surg. 2004 Aug;40(2):270-8.

Durability of carotid endarterectomy for treatment of symptomatic and asymptomatic stenoses.

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Vascular Surgery Section, Department of Surgical and Gastroenterological Sciences, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Padua, Italy.



Although many studies have well established that carotid endarterectomy (CEA) is beneficial in selected patients with severe carotid disease, only a few large studies have focused on the durability of the surgical procedure. Carotid artery angioplasty and stenting (CAS) has recently been proposed as a potential alternative to CEA. We analyzed the incidence of late occlusion and recurrent stenosis after CEA.


Over 13 years 1000 patients underwent 1150 CEA procedures to treat symptomatic and asymptomatic high-grade carotid stenosis. CEA procedures involving either traditional CEA with patching (n = 302) or eversion CEA (n = 848) were all performed by the same surgeon, with patients under deep general anesthesia and cerebral protection involving continuous electroencephalographic monitoring for selective shunting. All patients underwent postoperative duplex ultrasound scanning and clinical follow-up at 1, 6, and 12 months, and yearly thereafter. New neurologic events, late occlusions, and recurrent stenoses 50% or greater were recorded. Complete follow-up (mean, 6.2 years; range, 6-156 months) was obtained in 95% of patients (949 of 1000), for an overall average of 95% of procedures (1092 of 1150). Survival analysis was performed with the Kaplan-Meier life table method.


Perioperative (30-day) mortality rate was 0.3% (3 of 1000), and stroke rate was 0.9% (11 of 1150), with a combined mortality and stroke rate of 1.2%. The incidence of late occlusion and recurrent stenosis 70% or greater was 0.6% and 0.5%, respectively, with a combined occlusion and restenosis rate of 1.1%. Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that the rate of freedom from occlusion, restenosis 70% or greater, and combined occlusion and restenosis 70% or greater at 12 years was 99,4%, 99.5%, and 98.8%, respectively. Occlusion and restenosis developed asymptomatically.


CEA is a low-risk procedure for treating severe symptomatic and asymptomatic carotid disease, with excellent long-term durability. Proponents of CAS should bear this in mind before considering CAS as a routine alternative to CEA.

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