Purpose: Several randomized trials now have established guidelines regarding patient selection for carotid endarterectomy (CEA) that have been widely accepted but have little relevance unless they are considered in the context of perioperative risk. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the feasibility of early outcome assessment using a computerized database.
Methods: Since 1989 demographic information and in-hospital results for all surgical procedures performed by the members of our department have been entered into a prospective registry. For the purpose of this report, we have analyzed the stroke and mortality rates for 2228 consecutive CEAs (2046 patients), including 1924 that were performed as isolated operations and 304 that were combined with simultaneous coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). This series incidentally contains a total of 153 reoperations for recurrent carotid stenosis.
Results: The respective stroke and mortality rates were 0.5% and 1.8% for all isolated CEAs, 4.3% and 5.3% for all CEA-CABG procedures, and 4.6% and 2.0% for carotid reoperations. According to a multivariable statistical model, the composite stroke and mortality rate for isolated CEA was significantly influenced by female gender (p = 0.050), by the urgency of intervention (p = 0.026), and by carotid reoperations (p = 0.024). Gender (p = 0.030) and urgency (p = 0.040) also were associated with differences in the stroke rate alone; furthermore, the incidence of perioperative stroke was higher in conjunction with synthetic patching (odds ratio, 2.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.2 to 5.3) and was marginally higher with primary arteriotomy closure (odds ratio, 2.7; 95% confidence interval, 0.8 to 9.5) compared with vein patch angioplasty (1.3%). The method used to repair the arteriotomy was the only independent factor that qualified for the multivariable composite stroke and mortality models that were applied to the combined CEA-CABG procedures, but too few patients in this cohort had synthetic patches or primary closure to validate the perceived superiority of vein patching.
Conclusions: Prospective outcome assessment is essential to reconcile the indications for CEA with its actual results, and it may lead incidentally to important observations concerning patient care.