JRSM Cardiovasc Dis 2014 Jan 8;3:2048004014529419. Epub 2014 Apr 8.
Mayo Clinic, Department of Neurology, Jacksonville, FL, USA.
Stroke remains an exceedingly incident and prevalent public health burden across the globe, with an estimated 16 million new strokes per annum and prevalence over 60 million, and extracranial internal carotid artery atherosclerotic disease is an important risk factor for stroke. Randomized trials of surgical treatment were conducted (North American Symptomatic Carotid Endarterectomy Trial, European Carotid Surgery Trial) and demonstrated efficacy of carotid endarterectomy for secondary prevention of stroke in patients with cerebrovascular events (e.g. ipsilateral stroke, transient ischemic attack, and/or amaurosis fugax) attributable to a diseased artery with 50-99% stenosis. Therapeutic clarity, however, proved elusive with asymptomatic carotid artery disease. Asymptomatic Carotid Atherosclerosis Study (ACAS), Asymptomatic Carotid Surgery Trial, and Veterans Affairs Cooperative Study (VACS) suggested only modest benefit from surgical intervention for primary stroke prevention and the best medical therapy at the time of these trials is not comparable to modern medical therapy. ACT-1, Asymptomatic Carotid Surgery Trial-2, Stent-Protected Angioplasty in asymptomatic Carotid artery stenosis versus Endarterectomy Trial-2, European Carotid Surgery Trial-2, Carotid Revascularization Endarterectomy Versus Stenting Trial-2 are trials that are recent, ongoing, or in development that include diverse populations across Europe and North America, complementary trial designs, and a collaborative spirit that should provide clinicians with evidence that informs best clinical practice for asymptomatic carotid artery disease.