Compensated and non-compensated patient injury claims in internal carotid artery interventions in Finland, 2004-2017

Vascular. 2023 Jun;31(3):544-550. doi: 10.1177/17085381211069294. Epub 2022 Jan 28.


Objectives: Analysis of patient injuries offers possibilities for improving quality in patient care. The aim of this study was to identify errors and adverse events leading to patient injuries in the treatment of internal carotid artery stenosis (ICAS).

Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed on data from Finnish patient injury claims and patient insurance center decisions in the treatment of ICAS, 2004-2017. Contributing factors to injury were identified and evaluated.

Results: During the 14-year study period, 42 patient injury claims involving ICAS treatment were closed in Finland. One claim involved carotid artery stenting, and the other operations were carotid artery endarterectomies. Nine of the claims were compensated (seven for operations and two for evaluations). Fully trained vascular surgeons had carried out all the operations and evaluations. Stroke was the most common complaint in the claims (n = 12). Six of the compensated patients were symptomatic prior to the interventions. Injuries were related to errors in decision-making and patient selection in two cases. Four patients received compensation for nerve injury and three for stroke. No deaths were compensated as patient injuries. Most negative claim decisions were related to the injury having been unavoidable.

Conclusion: Compensated patient injuries involving the treatment of ICAS are rare but often serious and mostly involve open surgery. Patient injury claims provide a valuable source of information for recognizing errors in care and offer possibilities to improve patient safety.

Keywords: Carotid artery stenosis; carotid artery stenting; carotid endarterectomy; patient harm; patient safety.

MeSH terms

  • Carotid Artery, Internal / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Artery, Internal / surgery
  • Carotid Stenosis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Stenosis* / surgery
  • Endarterectomy, Carotid* / adverse effects
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stents
  • Stroke*
  • Treatment Outcome