An analysis of perioperative surgical mortality and morbidity in the asymptomatic carotid atherosclerosis study. ACAS Investigators. Asymptomatic Carotid Atherosclerosis Study

B Young, W S Moore, J T Robertson, J F Toole, C B Ernst, S N Cohen, J P Broderick, R J Dempsey, J D Hosking
Stroke; a Journal of Cerebral Circulation 1996, 27 (12): 2216-24

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Our aim was to determine the perioperative morbidity and mortality rates of patients in the surgical arm of the multi-institutional, prospective, randomized Asymptomatic Carotid Atherosclerosis Study (ACAS).

METHODS: Of 828 patients with carotid stenosis of 60% or more randomized to the surgical arm of ACAS, 721 underwent carotid endarterectomy (CEA). To qualify for participation, surgeons were required to have performed at least 12 CEAs per year with a combined neurological morbidity and mortality rate no greater than 3% for asymptomatic patients and 5% for symptomatic patients. Clinical centers had to demonstrate arteriographic morbidity less than 1% and mortality less than 0.1% per year. Primary events were stroke and death in the period between randomization and 30 days after surgery; secondary events were transient ischemic attack and myocardial infarction occurring in the same period.

RESULTS: Of the 721 patients who underwent CEA, 1 died and 10 others had strokes within 30 days (1.5%). Of the 415 who underwent arteriography after randomization but before CEA, 5 (1.2%) suffered transient ischemic attack or stroke caused by arteriography. Thus, a nearly equal risk of stroke was associated with both CEA and carotid arteriography. In addition, 6 transient ischemic attacks and 3 myocardial infarctions could be directly linked to CEA, for a total CEA event rate of 2.6%.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with asymptomatic internal carotid artery stenosis exceeding 60% reduction in diameter who are acceptable candidates for elective operation may be considered for CEA if the combined arteriographic and surgical complication rates are 3% or less.

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