Management of carotid bifurcation stenosis is a cornerstone of stroke prevention and has been the subject of extensive clinical investigation, including multiple controlled randomized trials. The appropriate treatment of patients with carotid bifurcation disease is of major interest to the community of vascular surgeons. In 2008, the Society for Vascular Surgery published guidelines for treatment of carotid artery disease. At the time, only one randomized trial, comparing carotid endarterectomy (CEA) and carotid stenting (CAS), had been published. Since that publication, four major randomized trials comparing CEA and CAS have been published, and the role of medical management has been re-emphasized. The current publication updates and expands the 2008 guidelines with specific emphasis on six areas: imaging in identification and characterization of carotid stenosis, medical therapy (as stand-alone management and also in conjunction with intervention in patients with carotid bifurcation stenosis), risk stratification to select patients for appropriate interventional management (CEA or CAS), technical standards for performing CEA and CAS, the relative roles of CEA and CAS, and management of unusual conditions associated with extracranial carotid pathology. Recommendations are made using the GRADE (Grades of Recommendation Assessment, Development and Evaluation) system, as has been done with other Society for Vascular Surgery guideline documents.[corrected] The perioperative risk of stroke and death in asymptomatic patients must be <3% to ensure benefit for the patient. CAS should be reserved for symptomatic patients with stenosis of 50% to 99% at high risk for CEA for anatomic or medical reasons. CAS is not recommended for asymptomatic patients at this time. Asymptomatic patients at high risk for intervention or with <3 years life expectancy should be considered for medical management as the first-line therapy.
Copyright © 2011 Society for Vascular Surgery. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.