Carotid endarterectomy in octogenarians: Early results and late outcome

P. J. O'Hara*, N. R. Hertzer, E. J. Mascha, E. G. Beven, L. P. Krajewski, T. M. Sullivan, J. R. Schneider

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study was undertaken to determine the safety and efficacy of carotid endarterectomy (CEA) in the octogenarian population at the Cleveland Clinic. Methods: From 1989 to 1995, 182 CEAs were performed among 167 octogenarians (98 men, 69 women) with a mean age of 83 years (median, 83 years; range, 80 to 93 years). One hundred procedures (55%) were performed for severe asymptomatic stenosis, whereas 48 (26%) were performed for hemispheric transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) or amaurosis fugax, 24 (13%) for prior stroke, and 10 (5%) for vertebrobasilar symptoms. Thirteen CEAs (7%) were combined with myocardial revascularization, and another five (3%) represented carotid reoperations. Nine arteriotomies (5%) were closed primarily, whereas the remaining 173 (95%) were repaired using either vein patch angioplasty (141, 77%) or synthetic patches (32, 18%). Two patients were lost to follow-up, but late information was available for 165 patients (180 operations) at a mean interval of 2.7 years (median, 2.4 years; maximum, 7.4 years). Results: Considering all 182 procedures, there were five early (<30 days) postoperative neurologic events (2.7%), including three strokes (1.6%) and two TIAs (1.1%). An additional 15 neurologic events occurred during the late follow-up period, consisting of 11 strokes (6.1%) and four TIAs (2.2%). The Kaplan-Meier estimated 5-year rate of freedom from stroke was 85% (95% confidence interval [CI], 77% to 93%). There was one early postoperative death (0.6%) of cardiac complications 9 days after CEA. The estimated 5-year survival rate was 45% (95% CI, 33% to 57%), and the 5-year stroke-free survival rate was 42% (95% CI, 30% to 53%). Multivariable analysis yielded age at operation (p = 0.001), abnormal creatinine level (p = 0.025), and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (p = 0.019) as variables that significantly influenced the survival rate. The presence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (p = 0.009) and, surprisingly, a lesser degree of contralateral internal carotid stenosis (p = 0.003) were found to be significantly associated with stroke after CEA. Causes of late death were cardiovascular in 16 patients (30%), unknown in 13 (24%), carcinoma in six (11%), stroke in six (11%), and miscellaneous in 13 (24%). Conclusions: We conclude that CEA may be safely performed in selected octogenarians with carotid stenosis, and that the majority of these patients live the rest of their lives free from stroke. Therefore, age alone should not exclude otherwise-qualified candidates from consideration for CEA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)860-871
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery


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