Multicenter review of preoperative risk factors for carotid endarterectomy in patients with ipsilateral symptoms

Larry B. Goldstein, Douglas C. McCrory, Pamela B. Landsman, Gregory P. Samsa, Marek Ancukiewicz, Eugene Z. Oddone, David B. Matchar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

162 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose Randomized clinical trials have shown that carotid endarterectomy decreases the risk of subsequent stroke in patients with high-grade carotid stenosis and ipsilateral transient ischemic attack or minor stroke. The benefit of surgery is highly dependent on surgical risk. We previously found that patients with ipsilateral hemispheric symptoms were at greater risk of carotid endarterectomy complications compared with those who were asymptomatic or had nonipsilateral symptoms. The goals of the present study were (1) to identify preoperative clinical factors that may increase the risk of complications after carotid endarterectomy in patients with ipsilateral hemispheric symptoms and (2) to develop a risk index based on this patient-level data. Methods Records from 1160 carotid endarterectomies performed at 12 academic medical centers composed the primary data set. Hospital charts for the admission during which carotid endarterectomy was performed were systematically reviewed by abstractors using a defined protocol. The present analysis was carried out on data from the subset of patients who had carotid endarterectomy for ipsilateral hemispheric symptoms. Candidate variables were identified based on univariate Fisher’s exact tests or χ2 tests. A risk index was then developed using those variables with a greater than 90% probability of being associated with adverse outcomes. Results Of the 697 patients with ipsilateral symptoms, 8.5% had either stroke, myocardial infarction, or died during the postoperative period of hospitalization. Those over the age of 75 had a greater risk of myocardial infarction (6.6% versus 2.3%, P=.024) but not of stroke or death (P>10). The overall frequencies of adverse outcomes were also higher in the 5 patients with complete ipsilateral carotid occlusions (40% versus 8.2%, P<.01), the 28 patients with ipsilateral intraluminal thrombus (17.9% versus 8.1%, P=.07), and the 65 patients with ipsilateral carotid siphon stenosis (13.9% versus 7.9%, P=.10). There were no differences in adverse outcomes among those with different degrees of ipsilateral stenosis (30% to 49%, 50% to 69%, and 70% to 99%). Adverse outcome rates were similar regardless of the type of symptom (transient ischemic attack, recent ipsilateral minor stroke, remote ipsilateral minor stroke). There were no significant differences in adverse outcome rates based on sex, race, history of angina, recent myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, degree of stenosis of the contralateral carotid artery, or presence of ulceration in the ipsilateral artery (Fisher’s exact tests, P>.10). A count of variables with greater than 90% probability of being associated with adverse outcomes (age ≥75 years or angiographic evidence of ipsilateral carotid occlusion, stenosis in the region of the carotid siphon, or intraluminal thrombus) was used to form a simple risk index. “High-risk” patients (one or more risk factors) had more than two times the risk of complications compared with “low-risk” patients who had no risk factors (odds ratio, 2.18; 95% confidence interval, 1.25 to 3.81). Conclusions Certain preoperative clinical variables may place patients with ipsilateral symptoms at greater risk of perioperative complications after carotid endarterectomy. Prospective validation of a simple risk index would provide an additional method for assessing preoperative risk in endarterectomy candidates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1116-1121
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1994


  • Angiography
  • Carotid endarterectomy
  • Clinical trials
  • Prognosis
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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