Background: Carotid artery stenting (CAS) for high-risk anatomic lesions is accepted practice. Neck irradiation and radiotherapy-induced arteritis are common indications. The clinical outcomes of CAS for radiation arteritis have been poorly defined.
Methods: A prospective database of patients undergoing CAS at a tertiary referral academic medical center was maintained from 1999 to 2006. Patients undergoing primary carotid artery stenting for significant atherosclerotic (ASOD) and radiotherapy (XRT)-induced occlusive disease were analyzed. Life-table analyses were performed to assess time-dependent outcomes. Cox proportional hazard analysis or Fisher's exact test was performed to identify factors associated with outcomes. Data are presented as the mean +/- SEM unless otherwise indicated.
Results: During the study period, 150 patients underwent primary CAS, 75% with embolic protection. Fifty-eight percent were symptomatic. One hundred twenty-seven (85%) were treated for ASOD, and 23 (15%) had XRT. The 30-day all-cause mortality rate was 1% for ASOD and 0% for XRT (P = NS); overall survival at 3 years was equivalent. There was no significant difference in major adverse event rates as defined by the Stenting and Angioplasty with Protection in Patients at High Risk for Endarterectomy (SAPPHIRE) trial between the groups. The 3-year neurologic event-free rate was 85% for ASOD and 87% for XRT (P = NS). Late asymptomatic occlusions were seen only in XRT patients. The 3-year freedom from restenosis rate was significantly worse for the XRT group, at 20%, vs 74% for the ASOD group (P < .05). Likewise, the 3-year patency rate was also worse for the XRT group, at 91%, vs 100% for ASOD by Kaplan-Meier analysis (P < .05). No factor was predictive of occlusion or stenosis by Cox proportional hazards analysis.
Conclusion: CAS for radiation arteritis has poor long-term anatomic outcome and can present with late asymptomatic occlusions. These findings suggest that these patients require closer postoperative surveillance and raise the question of whether CAS is appropriate for carotid occlusive lesions caused by radiation arteritis.