Carotid endarterectomy in patients with high plaque

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BACKGROUND: Difficult cephalad exposure during carotid endarterectomy in patients with high plaque (HP) may lead to increased incidence of complications after carotid endarterectomy. We report on our experience of carotid endarterectomy in patients with HP.

METHODS: This is a retrospective review of 1,233 consecutive patients who underwent carotid endarterectomy by a single surgeon at 2 teaching hospitals between January 1989 to December 2018. Group A consisted of patients with HP (n = 100) diagnosed by computed tomography angiography of the neck in 90, catheter-based arteriography in 8, and an unexpected finding during carotid endarterectomy in 2 patients. Group B consisted of 1,133 consecutive carotid endarterectomies with plaque ending in Zone 1 non-high plaque (nHP).

RESULTS: Both groups were similar in age (70.9 ± 8.7 vs 70.3 ± 9.1, P = .53). There was a preponderance of male patients in the HP group (78.0% vs 66.1%, P = .02). Associated risk factors, including coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and hyperlipidemia, were similar in both groups. Indications for carotid endarterectomy in HP patients include recent stroke (<8 >weeks) in 15 patients (15.0%), transient ischemic attack in 23 patients (23.0%), and asymptomatic in 62 patients (62.0%). Three patients (3.0%) with HP required shunt placement compared with 10.9% in the nHP group (P = .009). Completion carotid arteriogram was performed in 6 patients. Perioperative stroke and mortality were similar in both groups. The incidence of cranial nerve injury was higher in the HP group.

CONCLUSION: Most patients with HP can be diagnosed with computed tomography angiography of the neck or catheter-based arteriography. Shunt requirement in patients with HP is significantly lower than in the nHP group. Perioperative stroke and mortality in patients with HP undergoing carotid endarterectomy is similar to the nHP group; however, there is a higher incidence of permanent cranial nerve injury. Carotid artery stenting should be considered in cases in which carotid endarterectomy may be challenging, such as in patients with HP. Overall, our results demonstrate that carotid endarterectomy can be safely performed in patients with HP, however, at an increased risk of permanent cranial nerve injury.

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ePub ahead of print





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