Outcome after carotid endarterectomy for asymptomatic carotid stenosis

Richard B. Libman, Ralph L. Sacco, Tianying Shi, James W. Correll, J. P. Mohr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: To compare the long-term outcome in patients with asymptomatic carotid stenosis (ACS) among those treated with carotid endarterectomy (CE) or medical therapy. Background: Until randomized trials are completed, treatment of ACS will depend on identification of subgroups likely to benefit from CE. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was done on 215 patients with ACS: 107 underwent CE, and 108 were treated medically (MED). A neurologist reviewed medical records and performed a telephone interview to detect outcome (stroke and death). Mean follow-up was 3.8 years; only 4% were lost to follow-up. Results: Among CE patients, there was a 4.7% risk of postoperative ipsilateral stroke within 30 days. Four of five postoperative strokes occurred among patients with prior contralateral symptoms. There was no significant difference between CE and MED in the cumulative lifetable 5-year risk of ipsilateral stroke, any stroke, or survival free of any stroke. Among diabetics, however, there were no ipsilateral strokes at 5 years after CE compared to 20% in MED (p = 0.03). Excluding postoperative complications, the 5-year risk of ipsilateral stroke was reduced among CE patients who "ever smoked" (CE 1%, MED 8%, p = 0.03) and the 5-year risk of any stroke was reduced among CE patients who had no prior myocardial infarction (CE 6%, MED 16%, p=0.02). Among those with prior contralateral carotid territory symptoms, the 5-year risk of any stroke was worse in the MED patients (CE 5% MED 32%, p=0.004). Among CE patients, a Cox proportional hazards model determined that the independent predictors of worse long-term outcome were: a history of myocardial infarction; admission systolic blood pressure greater than 160 mm Hg; and age greater than 65. Conclusion: The approach to patients with ACS will await completion of large, randomized clinical trials, now in progress. Even if these studies are negative, there may remain specific subgroups of patients who show clear benefit from carotid endarterectomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-449
Number of pages7
JournalSurgical neurology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Carotid stenosis
  • Cerebrovascular disorders
  • Endarterectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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