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J Vasc Surg. 2005 Dec;42(6):1101-6; discussion 1106-7.

Incidence and risk factors for medical complications after carotid artery stenting.

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Department of Neurology, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.



Carotid angioplasty and stenting (CAS) is being evaluated as an alternative to carotid endarterectomy for the treatment of carotid artery stenosis; however, to date little is known about the incidence of medical complications after CAS. The goal of this study was to determine the frequency of, and to identify potential clinical risk factors for, the development of medical complications after CAS.


Medical complications that occurred < or = 30 days after CAS in 327 consecutive patients (241 men, 86 women; mean age, 69 +/- 9 years; range, 45 to 90 years) treated for symptomatic (n = 182, 56%) or asymptomatic (n = 145, 44%) carotid artery stenosis were recorded. The effect of clinical characteristics on the subsequent development of medical complications was analyzed by logistic regression.


Fifty-one patients (15%) had 62 medical complications: 3 (0.9%) myocardial infarctions, 3 (0.9%) cardiac arrhythmias, 4 (1.2%) episodes of angina pectoris, 3 (0.9%) episodes of symptomatic hypertension, 16 (4.9%) episodes of symptomatic hypotension, 10 (3.1%) chest infections, 9 (2.7%) had periods of confusion, 5 (1.5%) had urinary retention, and 9 (2.7%) urinary tract infections. One chest infection was fatal and 16 complications prolonged the intensive care unit monitoring period > 24 hours. Advanced age (odds ratio [OR], 1.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.05 to 1.14) and a symptomatic carotid stenosis (OR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.07 to 4.1) independently predicted the occurrence of medical complications.


Although life-threatening or fatal non-neurologic events were uncommon in this series, the overall incidence of medical complications after CAS might be higher than currently anticipated. Older and symptomatic patients are at the highest risk, and these subgroups should be monitored closely.

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