Carotid reconstruction in nonagenarians: is surgery a viable option?

Ann Vasc Surg. 2008 Mar;22(2):190-4. doi: 10.1016/j.avsg.2007.12.001.


Because of limited longevity and perceived increased perioperative risk, the optimal treatment of significant carotid stenosis in nonagenarians is controversial. This study was conducted to evaluate our results in this demographic group. A retrospective review was performed of carotid endarterectomies (CEAs) done in nonagenarians at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center between 1996 and 2006. During this period, a total of 2,038 CEAs were performed on patients of all ages. Data abstracted included demographics, patient risk factors, indications for surgery, perioperative complications, and survival. Fifty-three (2.8%) CEAs were performed as the primary procedure on 49 patients aged 90 or greater during the study period. Of these patients, 11 (22.4%) had diabetes, 38 (77.5%) had hypertension, and 31 (63.3%) had coronary artery disease. Eleven patients (22.4%) had a history of smoking, and there were no current smokers. Renal disease was present in three (6.1%) patients, one of whom was dialysis-dependent. The median length of stay was 2 days with a range of 1 to 24 days. Five patients (10.2%) required the intensive care unit following surgery. There were no postoperative strokes, and none of the patients had suffered ipsilateral stroke during follow-up. One patient (1.8%) had a perioperative myocardial infarction. One patient died in the perioperative period (1.8%). The 1-month stroke and mortality results did not differ significantly from those in patients under the age of 90, 0.3% and 0.4%, respectively (p = nonsignificant by Fisher's exact test). Using Kaplan-Meier life-table analysis, the 1- and 5-year survival rates were 84 +/- 5% and 33 +/- 9%, respectively. Our study demonstrates that in a group of well-selected nonagenarians, CEA is a safe procedure with acceptable perioperative morbidity.

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carotid Stenosis / complications
  • Carotid Stenosis / mortality
  • Carotid Stenosis / surgery*
  • Endarterectomy, Carotid*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Survival Rate