The risk of carotid artery stenting compared with carotid endarterectomy is greatest in patients treated within 7 days of symptoms

Barbara Rantner, Georg Goebel, Leo H Bonati, Peter A Ringleb, Jean-Louis Mas, Gustav Fraedrich
Journal of Vascular Surgery 2013, 57 (3): 619-626.e2; discussion 625-6

OBJECTIVE: Among patients with symptomatic carotid artery stenosis, carotid artery stenting (CAS) is associated with a higher risk of periprocedural stroke or death than carotid endarterectomy (CEA). Uncertainty remains whether the balance of risk changes with time since the most recent ischemic event.

METHODS: We investigated the association of time between the qualifying ischemic event and treatment (0-7 days, 8-14 days, and >14 days) with the risk of stroke or death within 30 days after CAS or CEA in a pooled analysis of data from individual patients randomized in the Endarterectomy vs Angioplasty in Patients with Symptomatic Severe Carotid Stenosis (EVA-3S) trial, the Stent-Protected Angioplasty versus Carotid Endarterectomy (SPACE) trial, and the International Carotid Stenting Study (ICSS). Data were analyzed with a fixed-effect binomial regression model adjusted for source trial.

RESULTS: Information on time of qualifying event was available for 2839 patients. In the first 30 days after intervention, any stroke or death occurred significantly more often in the CAS group (110/1434 [7.7%]) compared with the CEA group (54/1405 [3.8%]; crude risk ratio, 2.0; 95% confidence interval, 1.5-2.7). Patients undergoing CEA within the first 7 days of the qualifying event had the lowest periprocedural stroke or death rate (3/106 [2.8%]). Patients treated with CAS in the same period had a 9.4% risk of periprocedural stroke or death (13/138; risk ratio CAS vs CEA: 3.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-11.8; adjusted for age, sex, and type of qualifying event). Patients treated between 8 and 14 days showed a periprocedural stroke or death rate of 3.4% (7/208) and 8.1% (19/234), respectively, for CEA and CAS. The latest treatment group had 4% complications in the CEA group (44/1091) and 7.3% in the CAS group (78/1062).

CONCLUSIONS: The increase in risk of CAS compared with CEA appears to be greatest in patients treated within 7 days of symptoms. Early surgery might remain most effective in stroke prevention in patients with symptomatic carotid artery stenosis.

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