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April 27, 1994

Prevention of Functional Impairment by Endarterectomy for Symptomatic High-grade Carotid Stenosis

Author Affiliations

for the North American Symptomatic Carotid Endarterectomy Trial Collaborators
From the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario (Drs Haynes and Sackett and Messrs Taylor and Thorpe), Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, University of Western Ontario, London (Dr Ferguson), and Robarts Research Institute, London, Ontario (Dr Barnett).

JAMA. 1994;271(16):1256-1259. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510400042029

Objective.  —To determine whether carotid endarterectomy prevents deterioration of functional status among patients with transient ischemic attacks or nondisabling strokes and ipsilateral carotid stenosis of 70% to 99%.

Design.  —Multicentered randomized controlled trial with an average 18-month follow-up.

Setting.  —Fifty clinical centers in North America.

Patients.  —A total of 659 patients presenting with recent transient attacks or nondisabling stroke and ipsilateral atherosclerotic carotid stenosis of 70% to 99% were included. Patients were stable neurologically at the time of entry. No patient was lost to follow-up.

Intervention.  —Vascular surgeons and neurosurgeons were prescreened for low perioperative complication rates. Patients were randomly allocated to carotid endarterectomy plus continuing medical care (n=328) or medical care alone (n=331), including antiplatelet therapy.

Main Outcome Measures.  —All patients were assessed by neurologists for the occurrence of stroke and functional status at scheduled intervals after entry.

Results.  —In addition to a previously reported risk reduction for ipsilateral stroke for patients assigned to carotid endarterectomy, there was an absolute risk reduction (and relative risk reduction [RRR]) for functional status impairment of 5.6% (RRR, 69%) for vision, 4.6% (RRR, 87%) for comprehension of language, 8.3% (RRR, 88%) for fluency of speech, 4.3% (RRR, 84%) for swallowing, 6.0% (RRR, 53%) for lower-limb function, 9.3% (RRR, 75%) for upper-limb function, 7.4% (RRR, 60%) for shopping, and 10.5% (RRR, 50%) for visiting outside usual residence (P<.05, two-tailed, for all items).

Conclusions.  —Carotid endarterectomy reduced the risk for impairment of function among patients with recent symptomatic cerebral ischemia and ipsilateral high-grade carotid stenosis.(JAMA. 1994;271:1256-1259)