Article Text

Endarterectomy for symptomatic non-stenotic carotids: a systematic review and descriptive analysis
  1. Anthony Larson1,
  2. Valentina Nardi1,2,
  3. Waleed Brinjikji1,2,
  4. John Benson1,
  5. Giuseppe Lanzino1,2,
  6. Luis Savastano2
  1. 1 Department of Radiology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  2. 2 Neurosurgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Luis Savastano; Savastano.luis{at}


Objective To systematically analyse prior reports of carotid endarterectomy (CEA) performed in cases of ≤50% carotid stenosis in order to understand patient tolerance and potential benefit.

Methods A systematic review and descriptive analysis was performed in concordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. An English-language search was performed of online databases using librarian-selected search terms. Abstracts were reviewed for relevance which included mention of carotid endarterectomy and stenosis. Prospective or retrospective observational cohort studies that reported series of patients who underwent endarterectomy for minimal (≤50%) luminal stenosis with reported outcomes were included.

Results Six studies (which included our institutional series) with a total of 143 patients met the inclusion criteria. The weighted mean age at the time of CEA was 72.3 years; 113 (79.0%) were male. 55.8% of patients with available data had recurrent ipsilateral ischaemic events despite medical therapy. Two patients out of 129 with available perioperative data (1.6%) had perioperative MRI findings of acute ischaemic stroke, both within the hemisphere contralateral to the side of CEA. Of the 138 patients with available follow-up (mean, 36 months), none had recurrent ipsilateral ischaemic events.

Conclusions Endarterectomy for symptomatic carotid disease causing ≤50% stenosis may be a potentially beneficial strategy to prevent stroke recurrence. Studies with robust methodology are needed to draw more definitive conclusions in terms of the safety and efficacy of endarterectomy for minimal stenosis with vulnerable features relative to intensive medical therapy.

  • stenosis
  • carotid stenosis
  • stroke
  • magnetic resonance angiography

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplemental information.

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Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplemental information.

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  • Contributors AL: data gathering, data analysis, draft writing, submission. VN, JB: data gathering, data analysis, draft editing. WB: concept design, data analysis, draft editing. GL, LS: concept design, data gathering, data analysis, draft editing.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.