Long-term comparative effectiveness of carotid stenting versus carotid endarterectomy in a large tertiary care vascular surgery practice

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Objective:Carotid interventional trials have strict inclusion and exclusion criteria that make translation of their results to the real-world population challenging. Furthermore, the specialty of the operating surgeon and the role of clinical decision-making are not well studied. This study compares the effectiveness of carotid endarterectomy (CEA) vs carotid artery stenting (CAS) in a real-world setting when the procedure is performed by fellowship-trained vascular surgeons.Methods:A retrospective study was conducted of all consecutive patients undergoing CEA and CAS performed by vascular surgeons in a large rural tertiary health care system from 2004 to 2014. Postoperative outcomes of stroke, acute myocardial infarction (AMI), and death were analyzed at 30 days and during the long term (median follow-up of 5.5 years for CEA and 4.8 years for CAS). Standard statistical analysis was performed. Differences in long-term outcomes were expressed as cumulative incidence functions for nondeath outcomes (stroke and AMI), which account for the high death rate in this population of vascular patients, and as Kaplan-Meier curves for death itself.Results:From January 1, 2004, through December 31, 2014, there were 2331 carotid interventions performed (CEA, 1853; CAS, 478), all by fellowship-trained vascular surgeons. The average age of the patients was 71 years, and 63% were male, with more men in the CAS group (61.5% vs 67.8%; P = .011). Preoperatively, 30% of patients were symptomatic, and 77% of patients had high-grade stenosis in the 70% to 99% range. CEA patients were more likely to have preoperative hypertension (89.7% vs 86.2%; P = .029) and were less likely to have a history of cardiovascular disease (53.4% vs 59.4%; P = .018). There were no significant differences in 30-day outcomes between CEA and CAS (stroke, 1.1% vs 1.3% [P = .743]; AMI, 2.2% vs 1.7% [P = .474]; death, 0.7% vs 0.6% [P = .859]) or long-term outcomes (stroke, 6.8% vs 7.7% [P = .321]; AMI, 22.7% vs 21.0% [P = .886]; death, 28.4% vs 28.2% [P = .122]).Conclusions:The short- and long-term outcomes after CEA vs CAS are similar when the procedure is performed in a real-world setting by fellowship-trained vascular surgeons.Graphical abstract:

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