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J Vasc Surg. 2020 Feb 5. pii: S0741-5214(19)32892-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2019.11.047. [Epub ahead of print]

Shunt intention during carotid endarterectomy in the early symptomatic period and perioperative stroke risk.

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Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, Boston Medical Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Mass.
Section of Vascular Surgery, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH; The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Hanover, NH.
Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.
Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Interventions, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY.
Department of Biostatistics, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Mass.
Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, Boston Medical Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Mass. Electronic address:



Whether recent stroke mandates planned shunting during carotid endarterectomy (CEA) is controversial. Our goal was to determine associations of various shunting practices with postoperative outcomes of CEAs performed after acute stroke.


The Vascular Quality Initiative database (2010-2018) was queried for CEAs performed within 14 days of an ipsilateral stroke. Surgeons who prospectively planned to shunt either shunted routinely per their usual practice or shunted selectively for preoperative indications. Surgeons who prospectively planned not to shunt either shunted selectively for intraoperative indications or did not shunt. Univariable and multivariable analyses compared shunting approaches.


There were 5683 CEAs performed after acute ipsilateral stroke. Surgeons planned to shunt in 56.1% of cases. Patients whose surgeons planned to shunt vs planned not to shunt were more likely to have severe contralateral stenosis (8.8% vs 6.9%; P = .008), to receive general anesthesia (97.5% vs 89.1%; P < .001), and to undergo conventional CEA (94% vs 81.8%; P < .001). Unadjusted outcomes were similar between the cohorts for operative duration (124.3 ± 48.1 minutes vs 123.6 ± 47 minutes; P = .572) and 30-day stroke (3.4% vs 3%; P = .457), myocardial infarction (1.1% vs 0.8%; P = .16), and mortality (1.6% vs 1.3%; P = .28). On multivariable analysis, planning to shunt vs planning not to shunt was associated with similar risk of 30-day stroke (odds ratio [OR], 1.17; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.82-1.67; P = .402). On subgroup analysis, in 38.4% patients, no shunt was placed, whereas the remainder received routine shunts (44.4%), preoperatively indicated shunts (11.6%), and intraoperatively indicated shunts (5.5%). Compared with no shunting, shunting by surgeons who routinely shunt was associated with a similar stroke risk (OR, 1.39; 95% CI, 0.91-2.13; P = .129), but shunting by surgeons who selectively shunt on the basis of preoperative indications (OR, 2.11; 95% CI, 1.22-3.63; P = .007) or intraoperative indications (OR, 3.34; 95% CI, 1.86-6.01; P < .001) was associated with increased stroke risk. Prior coronary revascularization independently predicted increased intraoperatively indicated shunting (OR, 1.37; 95% CI, 1.05-1.8; P = .022).


In CEAs performed after acute ipsilateral stroke, there is no difference in postoperative stroke risk when surgeons prospectively plan to shunt or not to shunt. Shunting is often not necessary; however, when shunting is performed, routine shunters achieve better outcomes.


Carotid endarterectomy; Operative planning; Shunt; Stroke; Vascular surgery


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