The effects of centralisation of vascular surgical services in the Bath, Bristol and Weston area on the carotid endarterectomy pathway

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Patients who experience a transient ischaemic attack are at the highest risk of having a subsequent stroke immediately after their symptoms. A carotid endarterectomy should be performed on symptomatic, surgically suitable patients who present with a greater than 50% North American Symptomatic Carotid Endarterectomy Trial stenosis of the internal carotid artery within 2 weeks of their symptoms. This study aimed to determine whether the effectiveness of the carotid endarterectomy pathway has been impacted by the centralisation of vascular surgical services in the Bath, Bristol and Weston area.


From October 2013 to October 2015, critical steps in the patient carotid endarterectomy pathway that vascular surgeons from the Royal United Hospital Bath, Bristol Royal Infirmary and North Bristol NHS Trust input into the Royal College of Surgeons National Vascular Registry were collected. The dates of patient’s symptoms, referral, first scan, surgical team review and surgery were analysed.


Carotid endarterectomy data was collected for 261 patients. Overall, no significant difference in median time (days) from symptom to surgery from precentralisation data compared with post-centralisation data was seen (P = .175), with 65% patients meeting the national target of symptom to surgery in less than 14days.


Centralisation has not significantly impacted the overall efficiency of the carotid endarterectomy pathway. This study highlights areas where improvement across the vascular network is required. This includes addressing the 35% patients that are not currently meeting the 14-day target and standardising the provision of care to outlying communities. Further follow-up is required to assess the longer term effects of centralisation.

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