Background and purpose: The safety of carotid artery stenting (CAS) and carotid endarterectomy (CEA) has varied by symptomatic status in previous trials. The Carotid Revascularization Endarterectomy Versus Stenting Trial (CREST) data were analyzed to determine safety in symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.
Methods: CREST is a randomized trial comparing safety and efficacy of CAS versus CEA in patients with high-grade carotid stenoses. Patients were defined as symptomatic if they had relevant symptoms within 180 days of randomization. The primary end point was stroke, myocardial infarction, or death within the periprocedural period or ipsilateral stroke up to 4 years.
Results: For 1321 symptomatic and 1181 asymptomatic patients, the periprocedural aggregate of stroke, myocardial infarction, and death did not differ between CAS and CEA (5.2% versus 4.5%; hazard ratio, 1.18; 95% CI, 0.82 to 1.68; P=0.38). The stroke and death rate was higher for CAS versus CEA (4.4% versus 2.3%; hazard ratio, 1.90; 95% CI, 1.21 to 2.98; P=0.005). For symptomatic patients, the periprocedural stroke and death rates were 6.0%±0.9% for CAS and 3.2%±0.7% for CEA (hazard ratio, 1.89; 95% CI, 1.11 to 3.21; P=0.02). For asymptomatic patients, the stroke and death rates were 2.5%±0.6% for CAS and 1.4%±0.5% for CEA (hazard ratio, 1.88; 95% CI, 0.79 to 4.42; P=0.15). Rates were lower for those aged <80 years.
Conclusions: There were no significant differences between CAS versus CEA by symptomatic status for the primary CREST end point. Periprocedural stroke and death rates were significantly lower for CEA in symptomatic patients. However, for both CAS and CEA, stroke and death rates were below or comparable to those of previous randomized trials and were within the complication thresholds suggested in current guidelines for both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.