J Vasc Surg 2012 Nov 1;56(5):1296-302; discussion 1302. Epub 2012 Aug 1.
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Ill 60611, USA.
Background: Delayed carotid endarterectomy (CEA) after a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) is associated with risks of recurrent neurologic symptoms. In an effort to preserve cerebral function, urgent early CEA has been recommended in many circumstances. We analyzed outcomes of different time intervals in early CEA in comparison with delayed treatment.
Study Design: Retrospective chart review from a single university hospital tertiary care center between April 1999 and November 2010 revealed 312 patients who underwent CEA following stroke or TIA. Of these 312 patients, 69 received their CEA within 30 days of symptom onset and 243 received their CEA after 30 days from symptom onset. The early CEA cohort was further stratified according to the timing of surgery: group A (27 patients), within 7 days; group B (17), between 8 and 14 days; group C (12), between 15 and 21 days; and group D (12), between 22 and 30 days. Demographic data as well as 30-day (mortality, stroke, TIA, and myocardial infarction) and long-term (all-cause mortality and stroke) adverse outcome rates were analyzed for each group. These were also analyzed for the entire early CEA cohort and compared against the delayed CEA group.
Results: Demographics and comorbid conditions were similar between groups. For 30-day outcomes, there were no deaths, 1 stroke (1.4%), 0 TIAs, and 0 myocardial infarctions in the early CEA cohort; in the delayed CEA cohort, there were 4 (1.6%), 4 (1.6%), 2 (0.8%), and 2 (0.8%) patients with these outcomes, respectively (P > .05 for all comparisons). Over the long term, the early group had one ipsilateral stroke at 17 months and the delayed group had two ipsilateral strokes at 3 and 12 months. For long-term outcomes, there were 16 deaths in the early CEA cohort (21%) and 74 deaths in the delayed CEA cohort (30%, P > .05). Mean follow-up times were 4.5 years in the early CEA cohort and 5.8 years in the delayed CEA cohort.
Conclusions: There were no differences in 30-day and long-term adverse outcome rates between the early and delayed CEA cohorts. In symptomatic carotid stenosis patients without evidence of intracerebral hemorrhage, carotid occlusion, or permanent neurologic deficits early carotid endarterectomy can be safely performed and is preferred over delaying operative treatment.