- J David Spence, director
- 1Stroke Prevention andAtherosclerosis Research Centre, Robarts Research Institute, University of Western Ontario, 1400 Western Road, London, ON, Canada N6G 2V2
Carotid endarterectomy and stenting for asymptomatic stenosis are based on historical risks that no longer pertain. With more intensive medical management (including lifestyle modification), the risk of stroke or death is now lower than with intervention; patients with asymptomatic stenosis are now more likely to be harmed than helped. In most cases, carotid stenting or endarterectomy for asymptomatic stenosis is inappropriate and unwarranted.
In the Asymptomatic Carotid Artery Surgery and Asymptomatic Carotid Surgery randomised trials, the extrapolated five year risk of stroke or death was about 10% with medical management versus about 5% with surgery.1 2 Those outdated figures are now being compared with recent results of the Carotid Revascularisation Endarterectomy versus Stenting Trial (CREST),3 to justify routine endarterectomy or stenting. In CREST, patients with carotid stenosis were randomised to endarterectomy or stenting; 47% of participants had asymptomatic stenosis. The periprocedural risk of stroke was 2.5% for stenting and 1.4% for endarterectomy (with four year risks of 4.5% …