Management of recurrent carotid stenosis: Should asymptomatic lesions be treated surgically?

Jr O'Donnell T.F., A. A. Rodriguez, J. E. Fortunato, H. J. Welch, W. C. Mackey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine factors that may influence patient selection for surgery in recurrent carotid stenosis (RCS) and to contrast the results of primary and secondary carotid endarterectomy (CENDX) with regard to operative morbidity and stroke prevention. Methods: Forty-eight patients who underwent CENDX for RCS (RCS-OP group) were compared with a contemporaneous group of 40 patients who on at least one post-CENDX duplex ultrasonography study had a greater than 50% stenosis but did not undergo operation (RCS-NO-OP group). This latter group was drawn from 1053 follow-up duplex studies in 348 patients who underwent primary CENDX between the years 1983 and 1993. Each of these two groups was compared with a metanalysis of six key series derived from the literature. Results: No significant differences were seen in the demographics or the incidence of risk factors between the two groups except for a higher incidence of coronary artery disease (p < 0.03) and peripheral vascular disease (p < 0.001) in the RCS-OP group. The operation-specific stroke rate was 2.1%, and the 30-day mortality was also 2.1%. Symptomatic RCS was the indication in 56% of cases. Important anatomic differences were found between groups. The duplex/arteriographic degree of stenosis was greater than 90% in 75% of the patients in the RCS-OP group, whereas only 10% of the patients in the RCS- NO-OP group had greater than 80% stenosis, most being in the 50% to 80% range. An unexpected finding was the sudden progression to occlusion in 10 (25%) of 40 in the RCS-NO-OP group, with 2 (5%) of 10 of the occlusions presenting as unheralded strokes. Overall, a stroke without an antecedent transient ischemic attack occurred in 3 (7.5%) of 40 of patients in the RCS- NO-OP group, all in patients with greater than 75% stenosis on their last documented scan preceding the stroke. Conclusion: Given the relatively low stroke rate with surgery in the RCS-OP group (2.1%) and the higher incidence of unheralded strokes (7.5%) in the RCS-NO-OP group, a more aggressive approach may be warranted in patients with asymptomatic high-grade (>75%) RCS, a strategy not unlike that adopted for primary CENDX.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-212
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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