Background: The American Heart Association carotid endarterectomy (CE) guidelines endorse CE for asymptomatic carotid stenosis if the procedure can be performed with low morbidity. However, the Canadian Stroke Consortium has published a consensus against CE for asymptomatic stenosis. The views of practicing neurologists in the two countries on this subject are unclear. Methods: A survey was undertaken of 270 neurologists from either Florida or Indiana and 180 neurologists from either Ontario or Quebec. Results: The survey was returned by 36% of neurologists. Both Florida (65%) and Indiana neurologists (35%) were significantly more likely than Canadian neurologists (11%) to sometimes/often refer patients for surgery (p<0.001). Neurologists from Florida relied more on noninvasive methods of carotid stenosis assessment (36%) than Canadian neurologists (12%, p=0.003), who preferred angiography. Neurologists from Florida more often cited medicolegal concerns as a reason for referring patients for surgery (27%), compared to Canadian neurologists (3%, p=0.0001). Conclusions: Practices pertaining to carotid stenosis evaluation and management differ both regionally and by country. Canadian neurologists refer fewer asymptomatic patients for CE and rely more on angiography as a preoperative diagnostic tool. The potential of medicolegal liability is a greater force in clinical decision-making for certain U.S. neurologists, compared to their Canadian counterparts. These differences may partly explain the variations in CE utilization in the two countries.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology