Carotid endarterectomy in the very elderly: Is it worthwhile?

B. A. Perler, G. M. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Background. Stroke continues to be the third leading cause of death in this country, its incidence and corresponding mortality rate increase with age, and in the majority of cases it results from arteriosclerosis of the carotid artery. Although recent studies have clearly shown the benefit of carotid endarterectomy in reducing the incidence of stroke, performance of this procedure in very elderly patients, the patient population for whom it should be most beneficial, has been challenged by some investigators on the basis of perceived increased operative risk. Methods. The records of all carotid endarterectomies (n = 63) performed during the last 12 years for all patients (n = 59) with a minimum age of 75 years were reviewed to define the short-term risk of operative mortality, stroke and other major complications, and the long-term outcome. Results. No (0%) operative deaths and three (4.8%) perioperative strokes occurred. Major cardiac complications occurred in five cases (7.9%). Follow-up, ranging from 1 to 122 months (mean, 27.4 months), was available for 54 patients (91.5%). Cumulative freedom from stroke was 92% at 2 years and 80% at 5 and 10 years of follow-up. Long-term survival rate was 80% at 5 years and 52% at 10 years, and stroke-free survival rate was 68% at 5 years and 42% at 10 years of follow-up. Conclusions. Carotid endarterectomy can be performed in very elderly patients with low operative risk and excellent long-term results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-483
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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