Carotid revascularization outcomes comparing distal filters, flow reversal, and endarterectomy

Luke P Brewster, Robert Beaulieu, Matthew A Corriere, Ravi Veeraswamy, Khusrow A Niazi, Gregory Robertson, Thomas F Dodson, Karthik Kasirajan
Journal of Vascular Surgery 2011, 54 (4): 1000-4; discussion 1004-5

INTRODUCTION: Contradictory outcomes exist for different methods of carotid artery revascularization. Here we provide the comparative rates of adverse events in patients after carotid endarterectomy (CEA), carotid artery stenting (CAS) with a distal embolic protection device (EPD), and CAS with a proximal flow reversal system (FRS) from a single institution by various specialists treating carotid artery disease.

METHODS: Procedural billing codes and the electronic medical records of patients undergoing revascularization for carotid artery stenosis from February 2007 through March 2010 were used for data collection. Primary outcome was the incidence of cerebrovascular accident (CVA), myocardial infarction (MI), or death after CEA and CAS. Each practitioner determined the choice of therapy, with five of the 14 specialists providing both CAS and CEA. Baseline characteristics were examined for effect on outcome. Planned comparisons between and within groups were analyzed using χ(2), t tests, and analysis of variance, as appropriate.

RESULTS: A total of 495 procedures were documented, comprising 226 CEA, 216 CAS with EPD, and 53 CAS with FRS. Preoperative comparisons of patient comorbidities were similar among the cohorts. The carotid artery stenosis was symptomatic in 42% of these patients. Prior CEA was an indication for CAS rather than another CEA (P < .001). Significantly fewer patients undergoing CEA were receiving preoperative antiplatelet therapy (P < .001). The groups did not differ significantly in the overall composite end point of death, CVA, and MI (4%, 5.1%, 0%; P = .1) or any individual major adverse event. Overall, patients undergoing CAS with EPD had a statistically significant greater incidence of minor CVAs than CEA patients (P = .031), which was driven by the increased CVA risk for asymptomatic patients. Secondary end points occurred rarely (<2%). There have been no reoperations or interventions in these patients to date within this institution.

CONCLUSIONS: We have established a similar and low incidence of MI, CVA, and death among patients undergoing CEA and CAS, of whom approximately 40% were symptomatic. FRS provided superior results in this series; however, its use was limited to 20% of the CAS procedures. Still, zero adverse events in this cohort make FRS an exciting technology that warrants a large-scale prospective comparative study.

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