Carotid endarterectomy in octogenarians: Comparison with patient characteristics and outcomes in younger patients

Joseph R. Schneider*, Julie S. Droste, Nancy Schindler, John F. Golan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Objectives: Carotid endarterectomy has been shown to be of dear benefit to selected patients. However, recent trials of carotid endarterectomy versus best medical therapy have excluded octogenarians, and some authors have suggested that carotid endarterectomy would have an unfavorable cost-benefit relationship in octogenarians. We compared patients and results for carotid endarterectomy in octogenarians and younger patients. Methods: We reviewed the results for 582 primary carotid endarterectomies (90 in octogenarians and 492 in younger patients) performed in 528 patients between February 1, 1985, and January 31, 1998 (all data were collected prospectively for the most recent 301 carotid endarterectomies). Conventional surgical technique was used with general anesthesia, selective shunting, and selective patching. Main outcome measures were perioperative and late ipsilateral stroke and death. Results: The two groups were similar with respect to indications for carotid endarterectomy and patient characteristics, except that octogenarians were more likely to have histories of congestive heart failure or hypertension and less likely to have histories of smoking or chronic lung disease. Carotid endarterectomy was performed for asymptomatic disease in 27% of the octogenarians and 33% of the younger patients (P = .31). Stenosis was ≥80% in 90% of the octogenarians and 78% of the younger patients (P = .014). Perioperative strokes, all of which were ipsilateral, occurred in one octogenarian (1.1%) and eight younger patients (1.6%, P = 1.00). No octogenarians and two younger patients died within 30 days of surgery (P = 1.00). Length of stay and direct costs associated with carotid endarterectomy were similar for octogenarians and younger patients. Late strokes occurred in two octogenarians (one ipsilateral) and four younger patients (two ipsilateral). Life table estimates of freedom from ipsilateral stroke at 2 years were 98% and 97% for octogenarians and younger patients, respectively (log-rank P = .69), and life table estimates of patient survival at 4 years were 81% and 89% for octogenarians and younger patients, respectively (P = .11). Octogenarians represented an increasing fraction of the carotid endarterectomies performed during the study period. Conclusions: Octogenarians selected for carotid endarterectomy were similar to younger patients with respect to indications for carotid endarterectomy and comorbidities. Early mortality, early and late neurologic outcome, complications, and resource utilization were similar for the two groups, and more than 75% of octogenarians survived 4 years after undergoing carotid endarterectomy. Cost-benefit analyses for carotid endarterectomy, which are highly sensitive to expected patient survival, might not be pertinent to individual patient situations. Intellectually intact octogenarians without unusually severe comorbidities are good candidates for and should be offered the benefits of carotid endarterectomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)927-935
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery


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