The effect of carotid artery stenting (CAS) and carotid endarterectomy (CEA) on cognitive function is unclear. Both cognitive improvement and decline have been reported after CAS and CEA. We aimed to compare the changes in postprocedural cognitive function after CAS versus CEA. A systematic qualitative review of the literature was conducted according to the recommendations of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis statement for studies evaluating the changes in cognitive function after CAS compared with CEA. Thirteen studies (403 CEAs; 368 CAS procedures) comparing the changes in cognitive function after CEA versus CAS were identified. Most studies did not show significant differences in overall cognitive function or only showed a difference in a single cognitive test between the two procedures. A definitive conclusion regarding the effect of CAS versus CEA on cognitive function was not possible owing to heterogeneity in definition, method, timing of assessment, and type of cognitive tests. For the same reasons, performing a meta-analysis was not feasible. The lack of standardization of specific cognitive tests and timing of assessment of cognitive function after CAS and CEA do not allow for definite conclusions to be drawn. Larger, adequately-powered and appropriately designed studies are required to accurately evaluate the effect of CAS versus CEA on postprocedural cognitive function.
Keywords: Carotid artery stenting; Carotid endarterectomy; Cognitive function.
Copyright © 2013 European Society for Vascular Surgery. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.