Objective: The role of carotid endarterectomy (CEA) continues to be debated in the age of optimal medical therapy, particularly for patients with limited life expectancy. The Risk Analysis Index (RAI) measures frailty, a syndrome of decreased physiologic reserve, which increases vulnerability to adverse outcomes. The RAI better predicts surgical complications, nonhome discharge, and death than age or comorbidities alone. We sought to measure the association of frailty, as measured by the RAI, with postoperative in-hospital stroke, long-term stroke, and long-term survival after CEA. We also sought to determine how postoperative stroke interacts with frailty to alter survival trajectory after CEA. Methods: We queried the Vascular Quality Initiative CEA procedure and long-term data sets (2003-2017) for elective CEAs with complete RAI case information. For all analyses, the cohort was divided into asymptomatic and symptomatic carotid stenosis. Scoring was defined as not frail (RAI <30), frail (RAI 30-34), and very frail (RAI ≥35). Mortality information through December 2017 was obtained from the Social Security Death Index. Multivariable models (logistic and Cox proportional hazards regressions) were used to study the association of frail and very frail patients with the outcomes of interest. In a post hoc analysis, we created Kaplan-Meier curves to analyze patient mortality after CEA as well as after postoperative stroke. Results: Of the 42,869 included patients, 17,092 (39.9%) were female, and 38,395 (89.6%) were white. There were 25,673 (59.9%) patients assigned to the asymptomatic stenosis group and 17,196 (40.1%) patients in the symptomatic stenosis group. Frailty was not associated with perioperative or long-term postoperative stroke. The risk of long-term mortality was significantly higher for frail (hazard ratio, 1.9 [1.7-2.3]) and very frail (hazard ratio, 3.1 [2.6-3.7]) asymptomatic patients; symptomatic frail and very frail patients also had a two to three times increased risk of long-term mortality. Frail and very frail patients had two to three times the risk for long-term mortality compared with patients who were not frail. Postoperative stroke negatively affected the mortality trajectory for all patients in the cohort, regardless of frailty status. Conclusions: RAI score is not associated with postoperative stroke; however, frail and very frail status is associated with decreased long-term survival in an incremental fashion based on increasing RAI. RAI assessment should be considered in the preoperative decision-making for patients undergoing CEA to ensure long-term survival and optimal surgical outcomes vs medical management.
- Asymptomatic carotid stenosis
- Carotid endarterectomy
- Frailty Risk Analysis Index
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine