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Surgical Referral for Carotid Artery Stenosis The Influence of NASCET

     T.J. Coyne and M.C. Wallace

Abstract:   A retrospective review was undertaken of 139 consecutive patients with presumed carotid artery stenosis referred to a vascular neurosurgeon. The review period included three years prior and one year subsequent to the publication of the North American Symptomatic Carotid Endarterectomy Trial (NASCET) preliminary results showing surgery to be superior to best medical therapy for patients with symptomatic, high grade (> 70% linear diameter) carotid stenosis. The aims of this analysis were to determine any changes in the referral pattern following the NASCET publication (post-NASCET), and to examine the use and reliability for surgical decision making of pre-referral carotid artery imaging. Patient referral rate increased markedly post-NASCET, particularly from neurologists. There was a trend for more post-NASCET referrals to be for high grade stenosis and fewer referrals to be for intermediate grade (30-69% linear diameter) stenosis, although continued referral of patients with intermediate grade stenosis is desirable as randomization into NASCET continues for this group of patients. Ninety-six patients (69%) were referred with carotid duplex ultrasonography having been performed. There was poor correlation of these results with angiography, which remains necessary for planning management. A majority of patients (65%) referred to this surgical practice did not come to surgery.

Can. J. Neurol. Sci. 1994; 21: 129-132


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