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The purpose of this study was to compare carotid endarterectomy (CEA) plus medical therapy (MT) with MT alone for symptomatic and asymptomatic patients suffering from carotid artery stenosis in terms of long-term stroke/death rate. A meta-analysis of parallel randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) (blind or open) published in English. A university-based electronic search. Patients suffering from carotid artery stenosis symptomatic or not. Patients were subjected to CEA plus MT or MT alone. For asymptomatic patients, 6 RCTs comprising 5,733 patients (CEA = 2,853 and MT = 2,880) were included. CEA did not affect the stroke/death risk for asymptomatic patients (risk ratio [RR] = 0.93; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.84 to 1.02; I(2) = 0%; p = 0.14). For symptomatic patients, 2 RCTs were included. They had 5,627 patients (CEA = 3,069 and MT = 2,558) of whom 2,295 patients (CEA = 1,213; MT = 1,082) had severe stenosis (North American Symptomatic Carotid Endarterectomy Trial [NASCET] technique ≥50% and European Carotid Surgery Trial technique ≥70%). CEA decreased the stroke/death risk only for patients with severe stenosis (RR = 0.69; 95% CI, 0.59-0.81; p < 0.001 [random effects model]; I(2) = 0% on the odds ratio and 17% on the RR [benefit or harm side]; number needed to treat = 11 [95% CI, 8-17]). CEA is helpful for recently symptomatic patients with carotid artery stenosis ≥50% (NASCET technique) but adds no benefit in terms of stroke/death for asymptomatic patients. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Joanne Guay, E Andrew Ochroch. Carotid endarterectomy plus medical therapy or medical therapy alone for carotid artery stenosis in symptomatic or asymptomatic patients: a meta-analysis. Journal of cardiothoracic and vascular anesthesia. 2012 Oct;26(5):835-44

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PMID: 22494782

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