Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) is an effective treatment for significant carotid atherosclerosis. Perioperative stroke, a devastating complication, may be partially circumvented by shunting. However, routine shunt use is not without complications and does not benefit every patient. Our study is designed to determine whether CEA under general anesthesia, without cerebral monitoring, can be safely done with shunting only in the presence of poor internal carotid artery back-bleeding or contralateral carotid occlusion or critical stenosis. The medical records of 995 carotid operations were reviewed. A subset of 117 operations was performed on 112 patients using selective shunting. Data were analyzed and outcomes compared. For the selective shunt group, indications for redo operations (n=13) were recurrent asymptomatic high-grade stenosis in 69% and amaurosis fugax or transient ischemic attack in 31%. Indications for primary CEA (n=104) were asymptomatic high-grade stenosis in 59%, amaurosis fugax or transient ischemic attack in 36%, previous stroke in 3%, and global ischemia in 2%. A selective shunt was used in 29% of all symptomatic and 11% of all asymptomatic patients. No cerebral monitoring was used. There were no perioperative deaths and no permanent cranial nerve injuries, and there was one stroke (0.8%) from postoperative carotid thrombosis in a shunted patient. The average length of stay was 1.6 days for the non-shunt group and 2.2 days for the shunt group. The routine shunt group (n=878) had an overall stroke rate of 0.7%, no permanent cranial nerve deficits, and a mean hospital stay of 2.6 days. CEA under general anesthesia with selective shunting can be performed safely without cerebral monitoring.
View details for Web of Science ID 000231147800004
View details for PubMedID 15895671