Safety of carotid stenting (CAS) is based on institutional training more than individual experience in large-volume centres

Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2013 May;45(5):424-30. doi: 10.1016/j.ejvs.2013.02.003. Epub 2013 Mar 6.


Background: Operator training is a key factor for the safety of carotid stenting (CAS). Whether institutional practice is associated with improved individual operator outcomes is debated.

Objective: To evaluate the effect of the institutional experience on outcomes of new trainees with CAS, a retrospective analysis of a prospectively held database was performed.

Methods: The overall study period, 2004-2012, was divided into two sequential time frames: 2004-April 2006 (leaders-team phase) and May 2006-2012 (expanded team phase). In the first frame, a single leader-operators team that first approached CAS and passed the original institutional learning curve, performed all the procedures; in the following expanded-team phase, five new trainees joined. Institutional CAS training for new trainees was based on a team-working approach including selection of patients, devices and techniques and collegial meetings with critical review and discussion of all procedural steps and imaging.

Results: A total of 431 CAS procedures were performed in the leaders-team phase and 1026 in the sequential expanded-team phase. Periprocedural complication rates in the two time frames were similar: stroke/death (3.0% vs. 2.1%; P = 0.35), stroke (2.8% vs. 2.1%; P = 0.45) major stroke (0.9% vs. 0.6%, P = 0.49), death (0.2% vs. 0%; P = 0.29) during the leaders-team and expanded-team phase, respectively. However, rates of CAS failure requiring surgical conversions (3.7% vs. 0.8%; P < 0.0001) and mean contrast use (91.6 vs. 71.1 ml; P = 0.0001) decreased in the expanded phase. In the expanded-team frame (May 2006-2012), there was no mortality, and stroke rates were comparable between the leader and new operator teams: 2.6% vs. 1.2%; P = 0.17.

Conclusions: Institutional experience, including instruction on selection of patients and materials best suited for the procedure, is a primary factor driving outcomes of CAS. An effective team-working approach can reliably improve the training of new trainees preserving CAS safety and efficacy.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carotid Stenosis / surgery*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Female
  • Hospitals, High-Volume
  • Humans
  • Learning Curve*
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stents / adverse effects*
  • Stents / statistics & numerical data*
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures / education
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures / standards
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures / statistics & numerical data