Background: The Carotid Revascularization Endarterectomy Versus Stenting Trial (CREST) found a higher risk of stroke after carotid artery stenting and a higher risk of myocardial infarction (MI) after carotid endarterectomy.
Methods and results: Cardiac biomarkers and ECGs were performed before and 6 to 8 hours after either procedure and if there was clinical evidence of ischemia. In CREST, MI was defined as biomarker elevation plus either chest pain or ECG evidence of ischemia. An additional category of biomarker elevation with neither chest pain nor ECG abnormality was prespecified (biomarker+ only). Crude mortality and risk-adjusted mortality for MI and biomarker+ only were assessed during follow-up. Among 2502 patients, 14 MIs occurred in carotid artery stenting and 28 MIs in carotid endarterectomy (hazard ratio, 0.50; 95% confidence interval, 0.26 to 0.94; P=0.032) with a median biomarker ratio of 40 times the upper limit of normal. An additional 8 carotid artery stenting and 12 carotid endarterectomy patients had biomarker+ only (hazard ratio, 0.66; 95% confidence interval, 0.27 to 1.61; P=0.36), and their median biomarker ratio was 14 times the upper limit of normal. Compared with patients without biomarker elevation, mortality was higher over 4 years for those with MI (hazard ratio, 3.40; 95% confidence interval, 1.67 to 6.92) or biomarker+ only (hazard ratio, 3.57; 95% confidence interval, 1.46 to 8.68). After adjustment for baseline risk factors, both MI and biomarker+ only remained independently associated with increased mortality.
Conclusions: In patients randomized to carotid endarterectomy versus carotid artery stenting, both MI and biomarker+ only were more common with carotid endarterectomy. Although the levels of biomarker elevation were modest, both events were independently associated with increased future mortality and remain an important consideration in choosing the mode of carotid revascularization or medical therapy.
Clinical trial registration: URL: http://www.ClinicalTrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT00004732.