It is currently unclear if carotid artery stenting (CAS) is as safe as carotid endarterectomy (CEA) for patients with significant asymptomatic stenosis. The aim of our study was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of trials comparing CAS with CEA.Methods:
On March 17, 2017, a search for randomized controlled trials was performed in MEDLINE and Scopus databases with no time limits. We performed meta-analyses with Peto odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Quality of evidence was assessed with the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation method. The primary safety and efficacy outcome measures were stroke or death rate at 30 days and ipsilateral stroke at 1 year (including ipsilateral stroke and death rate at 30 days), respectively. Perioperative stroke, ipsilateral stroke, myocardial infarction (MI), and cranial nerve injury (CNI) were all secondary outcome measures.Results:
The systematic review of the literature identified nine randomized controlled trials reporting on 3709 patients allocated into CEA (n = 1479) or CAS (n = 2230). Stroke or death rate at 30 days was significantly higher for CAS (64/2176 [2.94%]) compared with CEA (27/1431 [1.89%]; OR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.01-2.44; P = .044), with low level of heterogeneity beyond chance (I2 = 0%). Also, stroke rate at 30 days was significantly higher for CAS (63/2176 [2.90%]) than for CEA (26/1431 [1.82%]; OR, 1.63; 95% CI, 1.04-2.54; P = .032; I2 = 0%). MI at 30 days was nonsignificantly lower for CAS (12/1815 [0.66%]) compared with CEA (16/1070 [1.50%]; OR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.24-1.14; P = .105; I2 = 0%); however, CNI at 30 days was significantly lower for CAS (2/1794 [0.11%]) than for CEA (33/1061 [3.21%]; OR, 0.13; 95% CI, 0.07-0.26; P < .00001; I2 = 0%). Regarding the long-term outcome of stroke or death rate at 30 days plus ipsilateral stroke during follow-up, this was significantly higher for CAS (79/2173 [3.64%]) than for CEA (35/1430 [2.45%]; OR, 1.51; 95% CI, 1.02-2.24; P = .04; I2 = 0%). Quality of evidence for all stroke outcomes was graded moderate.Conclusions:
Among patients with asymptomatic stenosis undergoing carotid intervention, there is moderate-quality evidence to suggest that CEA had significantly lower 30-day stroke and also stroke or death rates compared with CAS at the cost of higher CNI and nonsignificantly higher MI rates. The long-term efficacy of CEA in ipsilateral stroke prevention, taking into account perioperative stroke and death, was preserved during follow-up. There is an urgent need for high-quality research before a firm recommendation is made that CAS is inferior or not to CEA.