Who doesn't receive carotid endarterectomy when appropriate?

Ronnie D. Horner, Eugene Z. Oddone, Karen M. Stechuchak, Dean C.C. Johnston, Steven C. Grambow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify clinical and nonclinical factors associated with failure to perform carotid endarterectomy (CEA) in patients with clinically appropriate indications. We analyzed data from a prospective cohort study performed at five Veterans Affairs medical centers. Patients were referred for carotid artery evaluation if they had at least 50% stenosis in one carotid artery, had no history of CEA, and were independently classified preoperatively as appropriate candidates for CEA, according to clinical criteria. The primary outcome was receipt of CEA within 6 months of evaluation. Data were collected by medical record review and interview regarding clinical status, and patient and physician perception of the risks and benefits of CEA. Results: Among clinically appropriate candidates for CEA, 66.8% (n = 233) did not undergo the operation. Compared with patients who did undergo CEA, a greater proportion of these patients had no symptoms (68.7% vs 45.7%; P <. 001). A twofold greater proportion of patients who did not undergo CEA were in the highest quartile of reported aversion to surgery. Moreover, a fourfold greater proportion were perceived by their physicians to be at less than 5% risk for future stroke without the operation, and more than a twofold greater proportion were believed to experience less than 5% efficacy from the operation by their providers (P < .01). In multivariable analyses, four characteristics were significantly associated with whether an appropriate candidate did not receive CEA: asymptomatic disease, less than 70% stenosis, high expressed aversion to surgery score, and low (<5%) provider-perceived efficacy of the operation. Conclusion: Among patients in the Veterans Affairs health care system who are clinically appropriate candidates for CEA, those who did not receive the operation were less likely to have symptomatic disease or high-grade carotid artery stenosis, but were more likely to report high aversion to surgery and to have a provider who believed CEA would not be efficacious.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-168
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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