For Carotid Stenosis, Surgery Safer Than Stenting After Age 70


Carotid stenting may be a safe alternative to endarterectomy in patients under age 70 years with symptomatic carotid stenosis, but stenting should be avoided in those aged 70 years or older, according to findings from a meta-analysis of data from three randomized controlled trials.

While current recommendations restrict the use of stenting to symptomatic patients with contraindications to endarterectomy, carotid stenosis at surgically inaccessible sites, recurrent stenosis after previous endarterectomy, and stenosis after irradiation, this meta-analysis suggests stenting is also a viable alternative in younger patients in whom surgery could otherwise be undertaken without increased risk, said Dr. Leo H. Bonati of University Hospital Basel, Switzerland, and the Institute of Neurology at University College, London, and his colleagues from the Carotid Stenting Trialists' Collaboration.

They advised, however, that some uncertainty remains about whether recurrent stenosis rates are high after stenting vs. endarterectomy and recommended an approach of offering stenting when “technically feasible as an alternative option to endarterectomy to patients younger than 65-70 years with symptomatic carotid stenosis, in centers in which acceptable periprocedural outcomes have been independently verified … as long as patient are made aware of a possible increase in the risk of restenosis.”

Among the 3,433 patients in the trials, the overall incidence of any stroke or death in the 120 days following randomization in the three trials was significantly greater in those who underwent carotid stenting vs. carotid endarterectomy (8.9% vs. 5.8%, respectively; risk ratio 1.53).

However, further analysis showed that age modified the treatment effect; no difference was seen in the estimated 120-day risk of stroke or death in those under age 70 years who underwent stenting vs. endarterectomy (5.8% and 5.7%, respectively; risk ratio 1.00), but the risk of stroke or death was doubled in those aged 70 years or older who had stenting vs. endarterectomy (12.0% vs. 5.9%; risk ratio 2.04).

Similarly, the relative risk estimates for stroke or death at 30 days after treatment were comparable in those under age 70 years who underwent stenting vs. endarterectomy (5.1% and 4.5%, respectively; risk ratio 1.11), but were more than double in those aged 70 years or older for stenting vs. endarterectomy (10.5% and 4.4%, respectively; risk ratio 2.41).

For their meta-analysis, which was funded by the Stroke Association, the researchers analyzed pooled data from the Endarterectomy vs. Angioplasty in Patients With Symptomatic Severe Carotid Stenosis trial (EVA-3S), the Stent-Protected Angioplasty vs. Carotid Endarterectomy (SPACE) trial, and the International Carotid Stenting Study (ICSS).

These and other trials have suggested there is a higher periprocedural risk of stroke with stenting vs. endarterectomy, but none of the trials were sufficiently powered to show whether stenting might be a safe alternative in specific subgroups of patients, the investigators noted (Lancet 2010 [doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(10)61009-4

Disclosures: The authors stated that they have no conflicts of interest.


Source Elsevier Global Medical News

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