Ultrasound and angiography in the selection of patients for carotid endarterectomy

Curr Cardiol Rep. 2003 Mar;5(2):141-7. doi: 10.1007/s11886-003-0082-4.


The risk of ischemic stroke increases proportionately to the severity of carotid stenosis, and carotid endarterectomy is a durable procedure that reduces this risk. Although a combination of noninvasive tests, such as ultrasound and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), have low misclassification rates compared with invasive angiography, the need for invasive angiography may not yet be obviated. Ultrasound appears to be a cost-effective screening strategy for a significant carotid stenosis that warrants angiographic confirmation and possible intervention. A combination of ultrasound and MRA appears to be the most common clinical pathway that can be accurate and cost-effective, if rigorous local validation of diagnostic criteria is performed. Ultrasound further supplements angiography by providing information about plaque morphology and physiologic measurements of collateralization of flow and vasomotor reactivity when additional tests, such as transcranial Doppler, are performed. Ultrasound and various angiographic imaging modalities have complementary value in patient selection for carotid endarterectomy. Currently, more invasive angiograms are being performed, due to a variety of new experimental interventions such as angioplasty and stenting, a subject of current clinical trials.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Ischemia / epidemiology
  • Brain Ischemia / prevention & control
  • Carotid Artery, Internal / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Artery, Internal / surgery
  • Carotid Stenosis / diagnosis
  • Carotid Stenosis / epidemiology
  • Carotid Stenosis / surgery
  • Endarterectomy, Carotid*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography*
  • Patient Selection*
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / epidemiology
  • Stroke / prevention & control
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Duplex*