Immediate Carotid Endarterectomy Is Associated with Higher Risk in Symptomatic Patients.


Division of Vascular Surgery, Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda, CA. Electronic address: [Email]


BACKGROUND : Guidelines recommend that patients with carotid artery stenosis ≥50% (Sx-CAS) undergo carotid endarterectomy (CEA) within 14 days of symptoms. However, perioperative risks, especially stroke, may be increased when CEA is performed within 48 hours. This study seeks to more fully evaluate the effect of timing of surgery on outcomes for Sx-CAS.
METHODS : All CEAs in the Southern California Vascular Outcomes Improvement Collaborative (SoCal VOICe) from 2012 to 18 were reviewed. Ipsilateral cortical or visual symptoms within 6 months defined Sx-CAS. Timing from symptom occurrence to CEA was classified as immediate (0-2 days), early (3-14 days), or delayed (>14 days). Perioperative stroke, myocardial infarction (MI), and 30-day mortality rates were compared by time to surgery.
RESULTS : Of 2203 CEAs, 436 (20%) were for Sx-CAS (52% stroke, 48% transient ischemic attack). Mean time from symptoms to CEA was 28.3 days (range, 0-172; median, 14 days). Sixty-one cases (14%) were immediate, 166 (38%) early, and 209 (48%) delayed. Perioperative stroke occurred in 2.8% and stroke/MI/30-day mortality in 5.7%. Stroke rate was significantly higher in the immediate group (vs. early and delayed): 8.2%, versus 3.0%, and 0.96%, respectively (P = 0.009). Stroke/MI/30-day mortality was also higher in the immediate group: 13.1%, versus 6.0%, and 3.3%, respectively (P = 0.001). Immediate surgery was associated with greater postoperative events (P = 0.009), and logistic regression confirmed decreased risk of postoperative stroke and stroke/MI/30-day mortality in delayed surgery using immediate surgery as a reference. Wide variability existed among centers in the timing of CEA (immediate-range, 0-50%; delayed-range, 41-83%; P = 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS : In the SoCal VOICe, 52% of patients undergo CEA within 2 weeks of symptoms. Increased stroke rates occur when CEA is performed within 2 days, whereas stroke and death rates are decreased at 3-14 days and beyond. These data support avoidance of immediate CEA. Opportunity exists to standardize timing of CEA for Sx-CAS among SoCal VOICe participants. Further study is required to define the role of immediate CEA.