Objective: Current guidelines recommend dual antiplatelet (AP) therapy (DAPT) before carotid artery stenting (CAS); however, the true clinical effect of single AP therapy vs DAPT is unknown. We examined the efficacy and safety of preoperative single AP therapy vs DAPT in patients who had undergone transfemoral CAS (tfCAS) or transcarotid artery revascularization (TCAR).
Methods: We identified all patients who had undergone tfCAS or TCAR in the Vascular Quality Initiative database from 2016 to 2021. We stratified the patients by procedure and identified those who had received the following preoperative AP regimens: DAPT (acetylsalicylic acid [ASA] + P2Y12 inhibitor [P2Yi]), no AP therapy, ASA only, ASA + AP loading dose, P2Yi only, and P2Yi + AP loading dose. The AP loading dose was given within 4 hours of CAS. We generated propensity scores for each treatment regimen and assessed in-hospital outcomes using inverse probability weighted log binomial regression, with DAPT as the reference and adjusting for intraoperative protamine use. The primary efficacy outcome was a composite end point of stroke and death, and the primary safety outcome was access-related bleeding.
Results: Of the 18,570 tfCAS patients, 70% had received DAPT, 5.6% no AP therapy, 10% ASA only, 8.0% ASA + AP loading dose, 4.6% P2Yi only, and 2.9% P2Yi + AP loading dose. The corresponding unadjusted rates of stroke/death were 2.2%, 6.8%, 4.1%, 5.1%, 2.4%, and 2.3%. After adjustment, compared with DAPT, the incidence of stroke/death was higher with no AP therapy (relative risk [RR], 2.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.7-3.2), ASA only (RR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.2-2.1), and ASA + AP loading dose (RR, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.5-2.7) but was similar with P2Yi only (RR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.58-1.7) and P2Yi + AP loading dose (RR, 1.1; 95% CI, 0.49-2.5). Of the 25,459 TCAR patients, 81% had received DAPT, 2.0% no AP therapy, 5.5% ASA only, 3.5% ASA + AP loading dose, 4.9% P2Yi only, and 2.4% P2Yi + AP loading dose. The corresponding unadjusted rates of stroke/death were 1.5%, 3.3%, 3.3%, 2.9%, 1.2%, and 1.1%. After adjustment, compared with DAPT, the incidence of stroke/death was higher with no AP therapy (RR, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.2-3.3) and ASA only (RR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.5-3.1), with a trend toward a higher incidence with ASA + AP loading dose (RR, 1.6; 95% CI, 0.99-2.6), and was similar with P2Yi only (RR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.54-1.8) and P2Yi + AP loading dose (RR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.27-1.6). No differences were found in the incidence of access-related bleeding between the treatment groups after tfCAS or TCAR.
Conclusions: Compared with DAPT, no AP therapy or ASA monotherapy was associated with higher rates of stroke/death after CAS and should be discouraged as unsafe practice. Meanwhile, P2Yi monotherapy was associated with similar rates of stroke/death. No differences were found in the incidence of bleeding complications, and adding an AP loading dose to ASA or P2Yi monotherapy within 4 hours of the procedure did not affect the outcomes. Overall, these findings support the current guidelines recommending DAPT before CAS but also suggest that P2Yi monotherapy might confer thromboembolic benefits similar to those with DAPT. However, an immediate preoperative AP loading dose might not provide additional thromboembolic benefits.
Keywords: Carotid artery stenting; DAPT; Dual antiplatelet therapy; Single antiplatelet therapy; TCAR; tfCAS.
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