Carotid Stenosis in Cardiac Surgery—No Difference in Postoperative Outcomes

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Background Debate over revascularization of asymptomatic carotid stenosis before cardiac surgery is ongoing. In this study, we analyze cardiac surgery outcomes in patients with asymptomatic carotid stenosis at a single hospital.

Methods In this study, 1,781 patients underwent cardiac surgery from January 2012 to June 2013; 1,357 with preoperative screening carotid duplex were included. Patient demographics, comorbidities, degree of stenosis, postoperative complications, and mortality were evaluated. Chi-square test and logistic regression analysis were performed.

Results Asymptomatic stenosis was found in 403/1,357 patients (29.7%; 355 moderate and 48 severe). Patients with stenosis, compared with those without, were older (71.7 ± 11 vs. 66.3 ± 12 years; p < 0.01). Females were more likely to have stenosis (odd ratio, = 1.7; 95% confidence interval, 1.4-2.2); however, patients were predominantly male in both groups. There were no significant differences in the rates of mortality and postoperative complications, including stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA). Postoperative TIA occurred in 3/1,357(0.2%); only one had moderate stenosis. Inhospital stroke occurred in 21/1,357 (1.5%) patients; stroke rates were 2.3% (8/355) with moderate stenosis and 2.1% (1/48) severe stenosis. There were 59/1,357 (4.3%) deaths; patients with stenosis had a mortality rate of 4.2% (17/403); however, no postoperative stroke lead to death. Multivariable logistic regression analysis with adjustment for age, gender, race, comorbidities, and postoperative complications did not show an impact of carotid stenosis on postoperative mortality and development of stroke after cardiac surgery.

Conclusion This study suggests that patients with asymptomatic carotid stenosis undergoing cardiac surgery are not at increased risk of postoperative complications and mortality; thus, prophylactic carotid revascularization may not be indicated.

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