Background: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) was conducted to update the available evidence on the safety and efficacy of carotid endarterectomy (CEA) versus carotid artery stenting (CAS) in the treatment of carotid artery stenosis.
Methods: A comprehensive search was performed of MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL, bibliographies of included articles and past systematic reviews, and abstract lists of recent scientific conferences. For each reported outcome, a Mantel-Haenszel random-effects model was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). The I2 statistic was used as a measure of heterogeneity.
Results: Twelve RCTs enrolling 6,973 patients were included in the meta-analysis. Carotid artery stenting was associated with a significantly greater odds of periprocedural stroke (OR 1.72, 95% CI 1.20 to 2.47) and a significantly lower odds of periprocedural myocardial infarction (OR 0.47, 95% CI 0.29 to 0.78) and cranial neuropathy (OR 0.08, 95% CI, 0.04 to 0.16). The odds of periprocedural death (OR 1.11, 95% CI 0.56 to 2.18), target vessel restenosis (OR 1.95, 95% CI 0.63 to 6.06), and access-related hematoma were similar following either intervention (OR 0.60, 95% CI 0.30 to 1.21).
Conclusions: In comparison with CEA, CAS is associated with a greater odds of stroke and a lower odds of myocardial infarction. While the results our meta-analysis support the continued use of CEA as the standard of care in the treatment of carotid artery stenosis, CAS is a viable alternative in patients at elevated risk of cardiac complications.