Outcomes After Carotid Artery Stenting and Endarterectomy in the Medicare Population

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Background and Purpose—Carotid artery stenting (CAS) is an alternative to carotid endarterectomy (CEA) for stroke prevention. The value of this therapy relative to CEA remains uncertain.Methods—In 10 958 Medicare patients aged 66 years or older between 2004 and 2006, we analyzed in-hospital, 1-year stroke, myocardial infarction, and death rate outcomes and the effects of potential confounding variables.Results—CAS patients (87% were asymptomatic) had a higher baseline risk profile, including having a higher percentage of coronary and peripheral arterial disease, heart failure, and renal failure. In-hospital stroke rate (1.9% CAS versus 1.4% CEA; P=0.14) and mortality (CAS 0.9% versus 0.6% CEA; P=0.20) were similar. By 1 year, CAS patients had similar stroke rates (5.3% CAS versus 4.1% CEA; P=0.12) but higher all-cause mortality rates (9.9% CAS versus 6.1% CEA; P<0.001). Using Cox multivariable models, there was a similar stroke risk (hazard ratio, 1.28; 95% CI, 0.90–1.79) but CAS patients had a significantly higher mortality (HR, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.02–1.71). Sensitivity analyses suggested that unmeasured confounders could be responsible for the mortality difference. In multivariable analysis, stroke risk was highest in the patients symptomatic at the time of revascularization.Conclusions—CAS patients had a similar stroke risk but an increased mortality rate at 1 year compared with CEA patients, possibly related to the higher baseline risk profile in the CAS patient group.

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