Autonomic outcome is better after endarterectomy than after stenting in patients with asymptomatic carotid stenosis

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Carotid endarterectomy and stenting have comparable efficacy in stroke prevention in asymptomatic carotid stenosis. In patients with carotid stenosis, cardiac events have a more than threefold higher incidence than cerebrovascular events. Autonomic dysfunction predicts cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, and carotid stenosis interferes with baroreceptor and chemoreceptor function. We assessed the effect of elective carotid revascularization (endarterectomy vs stenting) on autonomic function as a major prognostic factor of cardiovascular health.


In 42 patients with ≥70% asymptomatic extracranial carotid stenosis, autonomic function was determined by analysis of heart rate variability (total band power [TP], high frequency band power [HF], low-frequency band power [LF], very low frequency band power [VLF]), baroreflex sensitivity (αHF, αLF), respiratory chemoreflex sensitivity (central apnea-hypopnea index), and cardiac chemoreflex sensitivity (hyperoxic TP, HF, LF, and VLF ratios) before and 30 days after revascularization.


Patients with endarterectomy were older than patients with stenting (69 ± 7 vs 62 ± 7 years;P≤ .008) but did not differ in gender distribution and preintervention autonomic function. Compared with stenting, postintervention heart rate variability was higher (ln TP, 6.7 [95% confidence interval (CI), 6.3-7.0] vs 6.1 [95% CI, 5.8-6.5;P≤ .009]; ln HF, 4.5 [95% CI, 4.1-5.0] vs 4.0 [95% CI, 3.4-4.5;P≤ .05]; ln VLF, 6.0 [95% CI, 5.7-6.4] vs 5.5 [95% CI, 5.2-5.9;P≤ .02]); respiratory chemoreflex sensitivity (central apnea-hypopnea index, 5.5 [95% CI, 2.8-8.2] vs 10.0 [95% CI, 6.9-13.1;P≤. 01]) and cardiac chemoreflex sensitivity (TP ratio, 1.2 [95% CI, 1.1-1.3] vs 1.0 [95% CI, 0.9-1.0;P≤ .0001]; HF ratio, 1.4 [95% CI, 1.2-1.5] vs 0.9 [95% CI, 0.8-1.1;P≤ .001]; LF ratio, 1.5 [95% CI, 1.3-1.6] vs 1.0 [95% CI, 0.8-1.1;P≤ .0001]; VLF ratio, 1.2 [95% CI, 1.1-1.3) vs 1.0 [95% CI, 0.9-1.1;P≤ .002]) were lower after endarterectomy. Postintervention baroreflex sensitivity did not differ after endarterectomy and stenting.


Autonomic function was better after endarterectomy than after stenting. Better autonomic function after endarterectomy was based on restoration of chemoreceptor but not baroreceptor function and may improve cardiovascular long-term outcome.

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