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Ann Thorac Surg. 2017 Mar;103(3):787-794. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2016.06.076. Epub 2016 Oct 4.

Should We Perform Carotid Doppler Screening Before Surgical or Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement?

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Division of Cardiology, Structural Heart and Valve Center, Atlanta, Georgia.
Cardiothoracic Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia.
Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, for Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, Georgia.
Cardiothoracic Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia. Electronic address:



Screening for internal carotid artery stenosis (ICAS) with Doppler ultrasound is commonly used before cardiovascular surgery. Nevertheless, the relationship between ICAS and procedure-related stroke in isolated aortic valve replacement is unclear.


We retrospectively reviewed patients with artery stenosis who underwent ICAS screening before surgical (SAVR) or transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) between January 2007 and August 2014. Logistic regression models were used to determine the relation between post-procedure stroke and total (sum of left and right ICAS) and maximal unilateral ICAS. Age, sex, history of atrial fibrillation, cerebrovascular disease and diabetes, left ventricular ejection fraction, and procedure type were considered as covariates. Two-subgroup analyses were performed in patients who underwent TAVR and SAVR, adjusting for procedure specific details.


A total of 996 patients underwent ICAS screening before TAVR (n = 467) or SAVR (n = 529). The prevalence of at least ≥70% ICAS was 5.2% (n = 52) and incidence of 30-day stroke was 3.4% (n = 34). Eight patients who underwent carotid intervention before valve replacement and 6 patients with poor Doppler images were excluded from the final analysis. We found no statistically significant association between stroke and either the total or maximal unilateral ICAS for all patients (p = 0.13 and p = 0.39, respectively) or those undergoing TAVR (p = 0.27 and p = 0.63, respectively) or SAVR (p = 0.21 and p = 0.36, respectively).


We found no statistically significant association between ICAS severity procedure-related stroke after aortic valve replacement. This suggests that universal carotid Doppler screening before isolated TAVR or SAVR is unnecessary.

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