Carotid endarterectomy in patients with significant renal dysfunction

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Recent reports suggest that carotid endarterectomy (CEA) should not be performed in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) because of an unacceptable rate of perioperative stroke and other morbidity. Because these conclusions were based on a small number of patients, we reviewed the perioperative and long-term outcome of patients with ESRD and chronic renal insufficiency (CRI) who underwent CEA at our institution.


The 1081 patients who had a CEA between 1990 and 1997 were cross-referenced with those patients in whom renal insufficiency had been diagnosed. These charts were reviewed for patient demographics and perioperative and long-term outcome. Patients undergoing CEA during a 1-year period (1993) served as controls.


Fifty-one CEAs were performed in 44 patients with CRI (32 in 27 patients) and ESRD (19 in 17 patients). In the CRI+ESRD group, 66.7% were symptomatic, and 70.7% of the control group were symptomatic. Six operations (11.8%) in the CRI+ESRD group were redo endarterectomies. There were no perioperative strokes in the CRI+ESRD group, but one patient died 29 days postoperatively because of a myocardial infarction, for a combined stroke-mortality rate of 2.0%. The control group had a 2.6% combined stroke-mortality rate. Long-term survival analysis revealed a 4-year survival rate of 12% for patients with ESRD and 54% for patients with CRI, compared with 72% for controls (P < .05).


CEA can be performed safely in patients with ESRD or CRI, with perioperative stroke and death rates equivalent to that of patients without renal dysfunction. However, the benefit of long-term stroke prevention in the asymptomatic patient with ESRD is in question because of the high 4-year mortality rate of this patient population.

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