Posts Tagged ‘CEA’

Vascular Surgery: International, Multispecialty Position Statement on Carotid Stenting, 2013 and Contributions of a Vascular Surgeon at Peak Career – Richard Paul Cambria, MD

Vascular Surgery: International, Multispecialty Position Statement on Carotid Stenting, 2013 and Contributions of a Vascular Surgeon at Peak Career – Richard Paul Cambria, MD

Author and Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Part One:

Vascular Surgery International, Multispecialty Position Statement on Carotid Stenting, 2013

Part Two:

Contributions of a Vascular Surgeon at Peak Career – Richard Paul Cambria, MD, Chief, Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery Co-Director, Thoracic Aortic Center @ MGH

I. Recollection of a visit at Dr. Cambria’s Office, 2004

II. Shadowing Dr. Cambria in OR @MGH

III. Dr. Cambria: Selection of Contributions to Scientific Research on Vascular Surgery

IV. Cardiovascular Clinical Observational Experience – Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN 

V. Cases with Complications: CEA and CAS

Part Three:

On 8/1/2013, Cleveland Clinic Reports Equivalence between carotid endarterectomy (CEA) and open-heart surgery (OHS) and carotid artery stenting (CAS) followed by coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery or non-CABG cardiac surgery




Part One:

Vascular Surgery International, Multispecialty Position Statement on Carotid Stenting, 2013 Part

No other invasive intervention procedure in the history of Vascular Surgery has stormed the profession more than the two treatment options for carotid artery partial to complete blockage than Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) and Carotid angioplasty and stenting (CAS).

The debate required evidence based resolution for the two treatment options in terms of patient outcomes and adverse events. As the title of the Position statement explained below, the verdict is non equivocal: Routine Carotid Stenting is inferior to Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) from a patient safety and outcomes.

A special Report was published in

Stroke. 2013;44:1186-1190; originally published online March 19, 2013

Why Calls for More Routine Carotid Stenting Are Currently Inappropriate : An International, Multispecialty, Expert Review and Position Statement

Anne L. Abbott, MD, PhD, FRACP; Mark A. Adelman, MD; Andrei V. Alexandrov, MD;

P. Alan Barber, PhD, MBChB, FRACP; Henry J.M. Barnett, CC, MD; Jonathan Beard, FRCS, ChM, MEd;

Peter Bell, FRCS, MD, DSC, KBE; Martin Björck, MD, PhD; David Blacker, MD, FRACP;

Leo H. Bonati, MD; Martin M. Brown, MD, FRCP; Clifford J. Buckley, MD, FACS;

Richard P. Cambria, MD; John E. Castaldo, MD; Anthony J. Comerota, MD, FACS, RVT;

E. Sander Connolly, Jr, MD; Ronald L. Dalman, MD, FACS;

Alun H. Davies, MA, DM, FRCS, FHEA, FEBVS, FACPh; Hans‐Henning Eckstein, MD, PhD;

Rishad Faruqi, MD, FRCS (Eng), FRCS (Ed), FACS; Thomas E. Feasby, MD; Gustav Fraedrich, MD;

Peter Gloviczki, MD; Graeme J. Hankey, MD, FRACP; Robert E. Harbaugh, MD, FAANS, FACS;

Eitan Heldenberg, MD; Michael G. Hennerici, MD; Michael D. Hill, MD, MSc, FRCPC;

Timothy J. Kleinig, PhD FRACP, MBBS (Hons), BA;

Dimitri P. Mikhailidis, BSc, MSc, MD, FRSPH, FCP, FFPM, FRCP, FRCPath;

Wesley S. Moore, MD; Ross Naylor, MD, FRCS; Andrew Nicolaides, MS, FRCS, PhD (Hon);

Kosmas I. Paraskevas, MD, PhD; David M. Pelz, MD, FRCPC; James W. Prichard, MD;

Grant Purdie, MD, FRACP; Jean‐Baptiste Ricco, MD, PhD; Peter A. Ringleb, MD, PhD;

Thomas Riles, MD; Peter M. Rothwell, MD, PhD, FRCP, FMedSci;

Peter Sandercock, MA, DM, FRCPE, FMedSci; Henrik Sillesen, MD, DMSc;

J. David Spence, BA, MBA, MD, FRCPC, FCAHS; Francesco Spinelli, MD;

Jonathon Sturm, MBChB, PhD; Aaron Tan, MD, FRACP; Ankur Thapar, BSc, MBBS, MRCS;

Frank J. Veith, MD; Tissa Wijeratne, MD, FRACP; Wei Zhou, MD

[DISCLOSURE for Richard Cambria: He is co‐PI for a future Transcervical Carotid Stenting/Flow Reversal Trial (ROADSTER).]

Special Reports Main Points

Key Words: carotid angioplasty/stenting ◼ carotid endarterectomy ◼ carotid

stenosis ◼ health policy ◼ stroke prevention

In conclusion, current global evidence shows that, even in the best academic centers, CAS is less effective (causing more strokes) and more expensive than CEA. It is premature that some guidelines have recently added support for routine practice CAS as an alternative to CEA for

  • asymptomatic43,44 and
  • low/ average surgical risk symptomatic patients43–45

because CAS may easily be misinterpreted by readers as being equivalent for

  • stroke prevention46 and
  • historical procedural standards were cited.

CAS, for these patients, should still only be performed and paid for within well‐designed, adequately powered trials. The US Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services is doing its job and setting an excellent global example. It is protecting Medicare beneficiaries from routine practice procedures, which are currently more likely to harm them and waste finite resources47 that could be used for their advantage. Meanwhile, we need to reassess the current routine practice role of CEA and deliver optimal current medical treatment to all who need it.

 Clinical Trials Results

To avoid misguidance from calls for more routine practice (nontrial) carotid angioplasty/stenting (CAS), we need to distinguish relevant facts and patients’ best interests from all else (distractions). A recent editorial by White and Jaff1 is one publication which illustrates this need particularly well. First, these authors are correct in reminding us that the responsibility of physicians is to provide best patient care, putting aside personal interest. This is inherent in any profession.2 However, misconception, bias, and conflict of interest exist. Therefore, healthcare payment organizations, such as the US Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services are important gatekeepers to facilitate patient access to interventions that are likely to help them, as opposed to all others.

It is also true that CAS and carotid endarterectomy (CEA) result in better outcomes when patients are carefully selected and skilled operators perform the procedures in experienced centers.1 We would add that key indicators (such as 30‐day periprocedural stroke/death rates) must be accurately measured in routine (real‐world) practice, particularly as stroke and death rates here may be unacceptably higher than in trials. 3–5 Therefore, it is most appropriate, as suggested by White and Jaff,1 that coverage for carotid procedures be dependent on facility accreditation and audited measurement of key standards indicators in all practices performing these procedures.

This is a priority issue. White and Jaff1 also correctly state “a major change in evidence based stroke prevention strategies will require clinical trial data. ,7,8 meta‐analyses, and routine practice.9–14 Most of these data relate to low/average risk symptomatic patients and demonstrate that, for these patients, even in the best academic centers, CAS is consistently associated with significantly higher rates of stroke or death (during or after the periprocedural period) compared with CEA.

It is incorrect that CREST “failed to show a difference in overall stroke rate between CAS and CEA” as stated by White and Jaff.1 In CREST, for average surgical risk symptomatic patients, the periprocedural stroke and death rates were 6.0% for CAS versus 3.2% for CEA (hazard ratio, 1.89; 95% confidence interval, 1.11–3.21; P=0.02).8

The higher periprocedural risk of stroke or death with CAS is particularly evident in the most senior patients (>68–70 years),13,15,16 those undergoing the procedure <7 days of incident cerebral or retinal ischemic symptoms17 (when CEA has the highest stroke prevention potential),18 those undergoing CAS outside clinical trials,19 and those with certain anatomic features.20 No study has shown that CAS is more effective than CEA in preventing stroke. Further, most analyses show that CAS costs considerably more,21–24 despite calculations derived from CREST results.25 No randomized trial has been adequately powered to compare the procedural and longer term risk of CAS on stroke or death in low/average risk asymptomatic patients. However, in CREST, the direction of effect was toward nearly twice the risk (periprocedural stroke/death rate was 2.5% for CAS versus 1.4% for CEA; hazard ratio, 1.88; 95% confidence interval, 0.79–4.42; P=0.15).8 This was consistent with the significantly higher periprocedural stroke rates seen in CREST CAS‐treated symptomatic patients8 and nontrial CAS‐treated asymptomatic patients.9,26

Meanwhile, medical treatment for asymptomatic carotid disease has improved significantly since past randomized trials of medical treatment alone versus additional CEA.27–32 Medical treatment consists of identification of risk factors for heart and vascular disease and risk reduction using healthy lifestyles and appropriate drugs. Improvement in medical treatment is clear from robust analyses of all published comparable, quality stroke rate calculations (including from, and within, randomized surgical trials) of patients with 50% to 99% asymptomatic carotid stenosis. This knowledge is not, as claimed by White and Jaff,1 derived from short‐cut extrapolation from coronary artery trials. Using the same standardized rate calculations, we are now seeing an average annual rate of ipsilateral stroke of ≈0.5% with medical treatment alone.30,33,34 This is about 3X— lower than that of asymptomatic CREST CAS‐treated patients and about half the rate of asymptomatic CREST CEA‐treated patients.7,9 This low rate with medical treatment is likely to fall further with improvements in efficacy, definition, and implementation.

However, recently published rate calculations indicate that, at most, only ≈2.5% of low/average CEA risk patients with 50% to 99% asymptomatic carotid stenosis will receive a stroke prevention benefit from CEA or CAS during their remaining average 10‐year lifetime if they receive good, current medical treatment (assuming the procedural risk of stroke/death is always zero).35 This indicates that a one‐size‐fits‐all procedural approach for these asymptomatic patients is now unlikely to be beneficial overall. We need to be much more selective. Research is required to determine which asymptomatic subgroups now benefit from carotid procedures in addition to current optimal medical treatment.

We have found no direct information about the influence of current medical treatment in patients with low/average CEA risk symptomatic carotid stenosis. However, improving results for medically treated asymptomatic patients27–32 and procedural trial asymptomatic and symptomatic patients8 indicate that a 6% periprocedural risk of

  • stroke or
  • death (the current standard) is now too high.

New randomized and risk stratification studies are required using current optimal medical treatment and procedural methods.36 For example,

  • improved plaque37 and
  • thrombus identification38 or
  • embolic signal detection39 above and below the stenosis

may help better identify carotid plaques responsible for carotid territory ischemic symptoms. Further, the best approach for patients with high surgical risk carotid stenosis remains uncertain because risk of stroke or death has not been measured with any standard of medical treatment or adequate procedural trials. However, some registries show significantly higher risks of stroke/death with CAS compared with CEA in asymptomatic and symptomatic high surgical risk patients.40

 Incidence of MI

Calls from other authors for more routine CAS on the grounds of lower periprocedural myocardial infarction (MI) rates compared with CEA are distracting.41 MI is not a measure of stroke prevention efficacy, even though it is an important procedural complication. The inclusion of periprocedural MI with stroke and death in the primary outcome measure in CREST resulted in primary outcome equivalence between CAS and CEA. However, it did not result in efficacy equivalence. In CREST, 1.1% (14/1262) of CAS patients had periprocedural clinical MI (biomarkers plus chest pain/ECG evidence) compared with 2.3% (28/1240) of CEA patients7 (P=0.03). However, periprocedural stroke was nearly twice as common (81/2502; 3.2%)7 as periprocedural clinical MI (42/2502; 1.7%) and, as mentioned above, CAS caused almost twice as many of these strokes as CEA. Further, in CREST, the mortality rate up to 4 years was equally poor for CREST patients with periprocedural stroke (20%),42 periprocedural clinical MI (19%),41 or periprocedural biomarker‐positive only MI (25%).41 Finally, nonfatal stroke was associated with a poorer quality of life at 1 year than nonfatal MI.7 Therefore, MI is a measure of carotid procedural risk (not benefit) and must be considered separately from stroke risk.  Moreover, in CREST, CAS‐associated stroke was more troublesome for patients than CEA‐associated MI.


Calls for More Routine Carotid Stenting Are Currently Inappropriate, 3/2013


Stroke. 2013;44:1186-1190

Carotid Artery Disease

What is carotid artery disease?

Carotid artery disease, also called carotid artery stenosis, occurs when the carotid arteries, the main blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood to the brain, become narrowed. The narrowing of the carotid arteries is most commonly related to atherosclerosis (a buildup of plaque, which is a deposit of fatty substances, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium, and fibrin in the inner lining of an artery). Atherosclerosis, or “hardening of the arteries,” is a vascular disease (disease of the arteries and veins). Carotid artery disease is similar to coronary artery disease, in which blockages occur in the arteries of the heart, and may cause a heart attack.

Illustration of a normal and diseased artery

Click Image to Enlarge

To better understand how carotid artery disease affects the brain, a basic review of the anatomy of the circulation system of the brain follows.

What are the carotid arteries?

The main supply of blood to the brain is carried by the carotid arteries. The carotid arteries branch off from the aorta (the largest artery in the body) a short distance from the heart, and extend upward through the neck carrying oxygen-rich blood to the brain.

There are four carotid arteries: the right and left internal carotid arteries and the right and left external carotid arteries. One pair (external and internal) is located on each side of the neck. Just as a pulse can be felt in the wrists, a pulse can also be felt on either side of the neck over the carotid arteries.

Illustration of the arteries in the brain

Click to Enlarge

Why are the carotid arteries important?

Because the carotid arteries deliver blood to the brain, carotid artery disease can have serious implications by reducing the flow of oxygen to the brain. The brain needs a constant supply of oxygen in order to function. Even a brief interruption in blood supply can cause problems. Brain cells begin to die after just a few minutes without blood or oxygen. If the narrowing of the carotid arteries becomes severe enough to block blood flow, or a piece of atherosclerotic plaque breaks off and obstructs blood flow to the brain, a stroke may occur.

What causes carotid artery disease?

Atherosclerosis is the most common cause of carotid artery disease. It is unknown exactly how atherosclerosis begins or what causes it. Atherosclerosis is a slow, progressive, vascular disease that starts as early as childhood. However, the disease has the potential to progress rapidly. It is generally characterized by the accumulation of fatty deposits along the innermost layer of the arteries. If the disease process progresses, plaque formation may take place. Plaque is made up of deposits of smooth muscle cells, fatty substances, cholesterol, calcium, and cellular waste products. This thickening narrows the arteries and can decrease blood flow or completely block the flow of blood to the brain.

Risk factors associated with atherosclerosis include:

  • Older age
  • Male
  • Family history
  • Race or ethnicity
  • Genetic factors
  • Hyperlipidemia (elevated fats in the blood)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Diet high in saturated fat
  • Lack of exercise

A risk factor is anything that may directly increase or be associated with a person’s chance of developing a disease. It may be an activity, such as smoking, diet, family history, or many other things. Different diseases have different risk factors.

Although these risk factors increase a person’s risk, they do not necessarily cause the disease. Some people with one or more risk factors never develop the disease, while others develop disease and have no known risk factors. Knowing your risk factors to any disease can help to guide you into the appropriate actions, including changing behaviors and being clinically monitored for the disease.

What are the symptoms of carotid artery disease?

Carotid artery disease may be asymptomatic (without symptoms) or symptomatic (with symptoms). Asymptomatic carotid disease is the presence of a significant amount of atherosclerotic buildup without obstructing enough blood flow to cause symptoms. However, a sufficiently tight stenosis will not always cause symptoms. Symptomatic carotid artery disease may result in either a transient ischemic attack (TIA) and/or a stroke (brain attack).

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a sudden or temporary loss of blood flow to an area of the brain, usually lasting a few minutes to one hour. Symptoms go away entirely within 24 hours, with complete recovery. Symptoms of a TIA may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Sudden weakness or clumsiness of an arm and/or leg on one side of the body
  • Sudden paralysis (inability to move) of an arm and/or leg on one side of the body
  • Loss of coordination or movement
  • Confusion, decreased ability to concentrate, dizziness, fainting, and/or headache
  • Numbness or loss of sensation (feeling) in the face
  • Numbness or loss of sensation in an arm and/or leg
  • Temporary loss of vision or blurred vision
  • Inability to speak clearly or slurred speech

TIA may be related to severe narrowing or blockage or from small pieces of an atherosclerotic plaque breaking off, traveling through the bloodstream, and lodging in small blood vessels in the brain. With TIA, there is rarely permanent brain damage.

Call for medical help immediately if you suspect a person is having a TIA, as it may be a warning sign that a stroke is about to occur. Not all strokes, however, are preceded by TIAs.

Stroke is another indicator of carotid artery disease. The symptoms of a stroke are the same as for a TIA. A stroke is loss of blood flow (ischemia) to the brain that continues long enough to cause permanent brain damage. Brain cells begin to die after just a few minutes without oxygen. The area of dead cells in tissues is called an infarct.

The area of the brain that suffered the loss of blood flow will determine what the physical or mental disability may be. This may include impaired ability with movement, speech, thinking and memory, bowel and bladder function, eating, emotional control, and other vital body functions. Recovery from the specific ability affected depends on the size and location of the stroke. A stroke may result in problems, such as weakness in an arm or leg or may cause paralysis, loss of speech, or even death.

The symptoms of carotid artery disease may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

How is carotid artery disease diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for carotid artery disease may include any, or a combination, of the following:

  • Auscultation (listening to) of carotid arteries. Placement of a stethoscope over the carotid artery to listen for a particular sound called a bruit (pronounced brew-ee). A bruit is an abnormal sound that is produced by blood passing through a narrowed artery. A bruit is generally considered a sign of an atherosclerotic artery; however, an artery may be diseased without producing this sound.
  • Carotid artery duplex scan. A type of vascular ultrasound study performed to assess the blood flow of the carotid arteries. A carotid artery duplex scan is a noninvasive (the skin is not pierced) procedure. A probe called a transducer sends out ultrasonic sound waves at a frequency too high to be heard. When the transducer (like a microphone) is placed on the carotid arteries at certain locations and angles, the ultrasonic sound waves move through the skin and other body tissues to the blood vessels, where the waves echo off of the blood cells. The transducer picks up the reflected waves and sends them to an amplifier, which makes the ultrasonic sound waves audible. Absence or faintness of these sounds may indicate an obstruction to the blood flow.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body. To have this test done, you lie inside a big tube while magnets pass around your body. It is very loud. Sometimes it is done with IV contrast injected into your veins and sometimes not.
  • Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). A noninvasive diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of magnetic resonance technology (MRI) and intravenous (IV) contrast dye to visualize blood vessels. Contrast dye causes blood vessels to appear opaque on the MRI image, allowing the doctor to visualize the blood vessels being evaluated.
  • Computed tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan). A diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce horizontal, or axial, images (often called slices) of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays. Like an MRI, it is sometimes done with IV contrast injected into your veins and sometimes not.
  • Angiography. An invasive procedure used to assess the degree of blockage or narrowing of the carotid arteries by taking X-ray images while a contrast dye in injected. The contrast dye helps to visualize the shape and flow of blood through the arteries as X-ray images are made.

Treatment for carotid artery disease

Specific treatment for carotid artery disease will be determined by your doctor based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history
  • Extent of the disease
  • Your signs and symptoms
  • Your tolerance of specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • Expectations for the course of the disease
  • Your opinion or preference

Carotid artery disease (asymptomatic or symptomatic) in which the narrowing of the carotid artery is less than 50 percent is most often treated medically. Asymptomatic disease with less than 70 percent narrowing may also be treated medically, depending on the individual situation.

Medical treatment for carotid artery disease may include:

  • Modification of risk factors. Risk factors that may be modified include smoking, elevated cholesterol levels, elevated blood glucose levels, lack of exercise, poor dietary habits, and elevated blood pressure.
  • Medications. Medications that may be used to treat carotid artery disease include:
    • Antiplatelet medications. Medications used to decrease the ability of platelets in the blood to stick together and cause clots. Aspirin, clopidogrel, and dipyridamole are examples of antiplatelet medications.
    • Antihyperlipidemics. Medications used to lower lipids (fats) in the blood, particularly cholesterol. Statins are a group of antihyperlipidemic medications, and include simvastatin, atorvastatin, and pravastatin, among others. Studies have shown that certain statins can decrease the thickness of the carotid artery wall and increase the size of the lumen (opening) of the artery.
    • Antihypertensives. Medications used to lower blood pressure. There are several different groups of medications which act in different ways to lower blood pressure.

In people with narrowing of the carotid artery greater than 50 to 69 percent, a more aggressive treatment may be recommended, particularly in people with symptoms. Surgical treatment decreases the risk for stroke after symptoms such as TIA or minor stroke, especially in people with an occlusion (blockage) of more than 70 percent who are good candidates for surgery.

Surgical treatment of carotid artery disease includes:

Carotid endarterectomy (CEA). Carotid endarterectomy is a procedure used to remove plaque and clots from the carotid arteries, located in the neck. Endarterectomy may help prevent a stroke from occurring in people with symptoms with a carotid artery narrowing of 70 percent of more.

Illustration of Carotid Endarterectomy

Illustration of Carotid Endarterectomy (Click to Enlarge)

Carotid artery angioplasty with stenting (CAS). Carotid angioplasty with stenting is an option for patients who are high risk for carotid endarterectomy. This is a minimally invasive procedure in which a very small hollow tube, or catheter, is advanced from a blood vessel in the groin to the carotid arteries. Once the catheter is in place, a balloon may be inflated to open the artery and a stent is placed. A stent is a cylinder-like tube made of thin metal-mesh framework used to hold the artery open. Because there is a risk of stroke from bits of plaque breaking off during the procedure, an apparatus, called an embolic protection device, may be used. An embolic protection device is a filter (like a small basket) that is attached on a guidewire to catch any debris that may break off during the procedure.

Carotid artery angioplasty with stenting

Carotid Artery Angioplasty with Stenting (CAS) Click to Enlarge



Carotid Artery Disease and Stroke: Prevention and Treatment – John Hopkins


Carotid Endarterectomy with Temporary Bypass – A Fifty year old procedure

Docteur Jean VALLA 
Chirurgien Cardiovasculaire et Thoracique
AIHR/ACCA – Ancien Chirurgien des Hôpitaux Universitaires.
Membre de la Société de Chirurgie Thoracique et Cardiovasculaire de Langue Française Conventionné

Carotid artery stenosis is the narrowing of the carotid arteries. These are the main arteries in the neck that supply blood to the brain. Carotid artery stenosis, also called carotid artery disease, is a major risk factor for ischemic stroke.The narrowing is usually caused by plaque in a blood vessel. Plaque forms when cholesterol, fat and other substances build up in the inner lining of an artery.Depending on the degree of stenosis and the patient’s overall condition, carotid artery stenosis can usually be treated with surgery. The procedure is called carotid endarterectomy. It removes the plaque that caused the carotid artery to narrow. Carotid endarterectomy has proven to benefit patients with arteries stenosed (narrowed) by 70 percent or more. For people with arteries narrowed less than 50 percent, anti-clotting medicine is usually prescribed to reduce the risk of ischemic stroke.


Carotid angioplasty and stenting (CAS) – Mayo Clinic

In carotid angioplasty and stenting, a long hollow tube called a catheter is inserted in the femoral artery in the groin area. The catheter is then maneuvered through the arteries until it reaches the narrowing in the carotid artery in the neck. An umbrella-shaped filter is inserted beyond the narrowing to catch any plaque or debris that may break off during the procedure. Then, a tiny balloon at the end of the catheter is inflated to push the plaque to the side and widen the vessel. A small metal coil called a stent is inserted into the vessel. The stent serves as a scaffold to help prevent the artery from narrowing again.

Carotid Artery Stenting

Part Two:

Contributions of a Vascular Surgeon at Peak Career – Richard Paul Cambria, MD, Chief, Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery Co-Director, Thoracic Aortic Center @ MGH

I. Recollection of a visit at Dr. Cambria’s Office @MGH, 2004

The author arrived for a 4PM appointment @ MGH with a referral from NWH for a Carotid artery duplex scan that in 2004 was not performed at NWH. The consultation appointment with Dr. Kwolek CJ, a vascular surgeon trained under Dr. RP Cambria, took place in Dr. Cambria’s Office. Few minutes into the patient Medical History interview, Dr. Kwolek was called for an emergency in the OR and asked me to wait for him till he comes back. I looked around and found myself in a 14’x22′ Room, the Office of Dr. Richard Cambria @ MGH, Chief Vascular Surgery and among the Top ten in the World. Except for the glass entrance door and the wide window to the right of the entrance – 3 1/2 walls from the ceiling to one yard above the floor where completely covered with framed Awards, licenses, renewed licenses, Pictures with graduating Medical Students, Pictures with Faculty, with Patients and in the OR. I waited for Dr. Kwolek’s return for the completion of my Medical History Interview about 30 minutes. I used that time to walk along the walls in Dr. Cambria’s Office and read the framed Exhibits. It was clear to me that this Office will need, one day, in the future, to become a Museum @MGH, for most significant milestones in Vascular Surgery, a branch of Cardiothoracic Surgery. Dr. Kwolek returned and completed the interview, scheduled my Lab appointment and the next appointment to discuss the duplex scan results.

II. Shadowing Dr. Cambria in OR @MGH

Per section IV, below which described the author’s Cardiovascular Clinical Observational Experience, I recorded my Shadowing experience at the OR @MGH, including Dr. Cambria performing a CEA on a 84 year old women under going aorta valve replacement (performed by Dr. Walker) priot to a CEA performed by Dr. Cambria. It was all captivating to watch his double gloved hands performing sutures on a  >95% blocked carotid artery prior to incision.

The dexterity and the speed of  Dr. Cambria’s fingers’ movement, could only have reminded me of World #1 Harp Player: Nicanor Zabaleta, which I met in person, in the presence of my prominent Harp teacher, on his US Tour in 11/1989. He was awarded the Premio Nacional de Música of Spain in 1982 and six years later, in 1988, he was elected to the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando. Dr. Cambria’s and Mr. Zabaleta’s fingers dexterity and eye hand coordination, both are of the rarest endowments in fine motor precision and perfection with Worldly finest outcomes in art, Surgery is Art, the mastering of the Harp is Art, too.

The Author in the OR — Mass General Hospital, Boston

Cardiac Surgery – Operating Room

Supervisor:             Dr. J. Walker, Cardiac Surgeon

Experience: Shadowing Open Heart Surgery at MGH

1/24/2005: Carotid Artery endarterectomy operation by Dr. Richard Cambria

1/24/2005: Mitral Valve Replacement by Dr. Jennifer Walker

1/26/2005: Aorta Valve Replacement and Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting by Dr. Jennifer Walker

[Saphenous vein harvested from the leg and Radial vein harvested from the right arm]

III. Dr. Cambria: Selection of Contributions to Scientific Research on Vascular Surgery

The Author covered In Part One, Dr. Cambria’s participation in and contribution to the International, Multispecialty Position Statement on Carotid Stenting, 2013.

In Part Two Section II, I share with the e-Reader watching Dr. Cambria in the Surgical Theater performing CEA

In Part Two Section III, I am carrying with me the heavy weight of my Recollections from a Visit to his Office in 2004, my experience shadowing Dr. Cambria in the OR @MGH on 1/24/2005. Now I am giving back.

I became aware that both events have impacted  favorably my 7/2013, Editorial decision, for a forthcoming book on Cardiovascular Disease in 2013. The Editorial decision is two fold:

  • the selection and representation of a prominent Vascular Surgery Center in the US, @MGH, and
  • my personal decision to select a Vascular Surgeon at Peak Career – Richard Paul Cambria, MD @MGH.

The decision to focus on Peripheral Vascular Surgery @MGH as described in Dr. Richard P Cambria’s research had yielded one Sub-Chapter (5.5) in Chapter 5

Chapter 5

Invasive Procedures by Surgery versus Catheterization

in Volume Three in a forthcoming three volume Series of e-Books on Cardiovascular Diseases

Cardiovascular Diseases: Causes, Risks and Management

This very Sub-Chapter, 5.5, represents milestones in Dr. Cambria as a Vascular Surgeon. His eminent profile as a Vascular Surgery Researcher, is now in: 


Volume Three

Management of Cardiovascular Diseases

Justin D. Pearlman MD ME PhD MA FACC, Editor

Leaders in Pharmaceutical Business Intelligence, Los Angeles

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Editor-in-Chief BioMed E-Book Series

Leaders in Pharmaceutical Business Intelligence, Boston


5.5 Peripheral Vascular Disease and Vascular Surgery 

5.5.1 Vascular Surgery: International, Multispecialty Position Statement on Carotid Stenting, 2013 and Contributions of a Vascular Surgeon at Peak Career – Richard Paul Cambria, MD @MGH

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

5.5.2 Carotid Stenting: Vascular surgeons have pointed to more minor strokes in the stenting group and cardiologists to more myocardial infarctions in the CEA cohort.

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

5.5.3 Carotid Endarterectomy (CAE) vs. Carotid Artery Stenting (CAS): Comparison of CMMS high-risk criteria on the Outcomes after Surgery:  Analysis of the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) Vascular Registry Data

Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Similarly, catheter-based interventions offer less invasive alternatives to open surgery for the abdomenal aorta.

5.5.4 Open Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) repair (OAR) vs. Endovascular AAA Repair (EVAR) in Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Patients –  Comparison of Surgery Outcomes

Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

5.5.5 Effect of Hospital Characteristics on Outcomes of Endovascular Repair of Descending Aortic Aneurysms in US Medicare Population

Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

5.5.6 Improved Results for Treatment of Persistent type 2 Endoleak after Endovascular Aneurysm Repair: Onyx Glue Embolization

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

5.5.7 Endovascular Lower-extremity Revascularization Effectiveness: Vascular Surgeons (VSs), Interventional Cardiologists (ICs) and Interventional Radiologists (IRs)

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

IV. Cardiovascular Clinical Observational Experience – Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN 

  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston. MA

Cardiac ICU, Coronary Care Unit, Medical Rounds [100 hours]            June 2006-November 2006

  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston. MA

CDIC – Cardiovascular Diagnostic and Interventional Center

Angiography & Interventional Radiology [100 hours]            March 2006-August 2006

Experience shadowing the daily activities of three Physician Assistants
1. attended consultation appointments with patient candidate for procedures: fibroid embolization
2. patient candidate for intra-vertebral cement injection in fractured vertebrae in spinal column, L-9 – Kyphoplasty vertebral augmentation
3. drainage of bile leakage – biliary duct obstruction
4. attended invasive procedures in the Angiography Lab
5. attended 7:30AM department meeting on all cases scheduled for procedures in the Lab for the day
6. discussed procedure outcomes and patient follow ups with PAs
7. Shadowing PAs and Interventional Radiologists performing angiography.

Mass General Hospital, Boston

  • Cardiac Catheterization Lab

Supervisor:             Dr. Igor Palacios, Director, Cath Lab

Experience Shadowing in the Cath Lab at MGH

1/19/2005: stenting – MI case, mitral valve opening with balloon

1/20/2005: multiple stenting case, Mitral valve opening, circumflex artery opening with catheter

1/25/2005: stenting case

1/25/2005: Vascular case: Saphenous vein plaque removal (Room 5)

Mass General Hospital, Boston

  • Cardiac Surgery – Operating Room

Supervisor:             Dr. J. Walker, Cardiac Surgeon

Experience: Shadowing Open Heart Surgery at MGH

1/24/2005: Carotid Artery endarterectomy operation by Dr. Richard Cambria

1/24/2005: Mitral Valve Replacement by Dr. Jennifer Walker

1/26/2005: Aorta Valve Replacement and Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting by Dr. Jennifer Walker

[Saphenous vein harvested from the leg and Radial vein harvested from the right arm]

  • Texas Heart Institute, Houston, TX

Cardiac Surgery – Operating Room at THI

Supervisor:             Terry Crane

Experience: Shadowing Open Heart Surgery at THI

Scheduled for an Interview at THI in the Perfusion Program.

Spent 6 hours in the dome above the Cardiac OR when open-heart surgery on pump was performed, 2/19/2005.

  • Faulkner Hospital – BWH, Boston, MA — ICU Unit

Practicum Staff Nurse, Clinical Comprehensive Practicum, Sept 2007 – December 2007

V. Cases with Complications: CEA and CAS

#1: Case on Cerebral Hyperperfusion Syndrome following Protected Carotid Artery Stenting

Case Reports in Vascular Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 207602, 4 pages

Cerebral Hyperperfusion Syndrome following Protected Carotid Artery Stenting

Department of Cardiology and Angiology, Allgemeines Krankenhaus Viersen, Hoserkirchweg 63, 47147 Viersen, Germany

Received 2 May 2013; Accepted 26 June 2013

Academic Editors: K. A. Filis and N. Papanas

Copyright © 2013 Rainer Knur. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The cerebral hyperperfusion syndrome is a very rare complication after revascularization of the carotid artery and accompanied by postoperative or postinterventional hypertension in almost all patients. We report a case of a 77-year-old man who developed a complete aphasia and increased right-sided weakness following endovascular treatment of severe occlusive disease of the left internal carotid artery. We discuss the risk and management of cerebral hyperperfusion syndrome after carotid artery stenting.


Neurological complications following carotid artery stenting (CAS) are usually ischemic in nature, due to embolization or occlusion of the carotid artery. However, in a small subset of patients, cerebral hyperperfusion causes postinterventional neurological dysfunction, characterized by ipsilateral headache, focal seizure activity, focal neurological deficit, and ipsilateral intracerebral edema or hemorrhage. A high clinical suspicion and early diagnosis will allow early initiation of therapy and preventing fatal brain swelling or bleeding in patients with peri- and postinterventional cerebral hyperperfusion syndrome (CHS).


In 1981, Sundt et al. [1] described a triad of complications that included atypical migrainous phenomena, transient focal seizure activity, and intracerebral hemorrhage after CEA and used the term cerebral hyperperfusion syndrome (CHS). The first report on CHS after CAS was published by Schoser et al. [2]. They described a 59-year-old woman with ipsilateral putaminal hemorrhage that was diagnosed on the 3rd day after CAS of a high-grade stenosis of the left ICA. Outcome in this case was not fatal. The patient recovered with a mild upper limb paresis. McCabe et al. [3] were the first to report the occurrence of fatal ICH soon after CAS. Only a few hours after the procedure, neurological symptoms occurred without any prodromata (severe headache, nausea, and seizures) postulated by Sundt et al. [1] to be an obligate component of CHS. CT of the brain revealed extensive ICH and the patient died 18 days later. Abou-Chebl et al. [4] reported a retrospective single-center study on 450 patients who had been treated with CAS. Three patients (0.67%) developed ICH after the intervention. Further reports on results and complications after CAS have been published [5]. Nearly all reports on CHS after carotid revascularizations in general and CAS in particular have in common patients who had high-grade stenoses in the treated vessel.

CHS following surgical or endovascular treatment of severe carotid occlusive disease is thought to be the result of impaired cerebral autoregulation, hypertension, ischemia-reperfusion injury, oxygen-derived free radicals, baroreceptor-dysfunction, and intraprocedural ischemia [6]. Chronic cerebral hypoperfusion due to critical stenosis leads to production of vasodilatory substances. Autoregulatory failure results in the cerebral arterioles being maximally dilated over a long period of time, with subsequent loss of their ability to constrict when normal perfusion pressure is restored. The degree of microvascular dysautoregulation is proportional to the duration and severity of ischemia determined by the severity of ipsilateral stenosis and poor collateral flow.

Hypertension plays an important role in the development of CHS. In the absence of cerebral autoregulation, cerebral blood flow is directly dependent on the systemic blood pressure. The restoration of normal blood flow to chronically underperfused brain can result in edema, capillary breakthrough, and perivascular and macroscopic hemorrhages aggravated by peri- and postinterventional hypertension [67]. The risk factors for CHS after CAS are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1: Risk factors for CHS [68].

The classic clinical presentation includes ipsilateral headache, seizures or focal neurological deficit, and ipsilateral intracerebral edema or hemorrhage. The diagnosis can be made readily with color Doppler ultrasound of the carotid artery and especially with transcranial Doppler (TCD) of the middle cerebral artery [9]. An increase in peak blood flow velocity of >100% is predictive of postinterventional hyperperfusion. Diffusion weighted MRI or single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) could also be performed for diagnosis [10]. Angiography normally shows normal findings.

The prognosis of CHS depends on timely recognition of hyperperfusion and adequate treatment of hypertension before cerebral edema or hemorrhage develops. The prognosis following intracerebral bleeding is very poor, with mortality over 50% and significant morbidity of 80% in the survivors [46]. The prognosis of CHS in patients without cerebral edema or hemorrhage is clearly better especially when they are identified and treated early. The most important aspects in preventing and treating this syndrome are early identification, careful monitoring, and control of blood pressure ideally in a high-dependency unit setting. In our special case, early diagnosis of CHS and immediate intensive medical treatment of blood pressure could prevent devastating cerebral edema or hemorrhage following CAS.


CHS, which is characterized by ipsilateral headache, hypertension, seizures, and focal neurological deficits, is a rare but devastating complication following carotid artery stenting. Hypertension is the most important risk factor. The diagnosis can be confirmed quickly by TCD, DWI, or SPECT. Especially peri- or postinterventional TCD monitoring should be available to identify patients with hyperperfusion who may benefit from intensive blood pressure management ideally in a specialized intensive care unit.


CAS: Carotid artery stenting
CCA: Common carotid artery
CEA: Carotid endarterectomy
CHS: Cerebral hyperperfusion syndrome
CT: Computed tomography
CVR: Cerebrovascular reactivity
DWI: Diffusion-weighted imaging
ICA: Internal carotid artery
ICH: Intracerebral haemorrhage
MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging
SPECT: Single photon emission computed tomography
TCD: Transcranial Doppler.


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#2: Case Narrative: Carotid Artery Duplex

Patient came to her appointment as part of a standard pre-operative evaluation for removal of a uterine myoma. She had a history of stroke with residual slurred speech, making it difficult to understand her. Accordingly, I assumed I would see some carotid stenosis, but her ultrasound showed a stunning 70-99% stenosis in her right internal carotid artery and full occlusion of her left internal carotid artery.

Flow in the common carotid arteries looked fine. The plaque itself in the internal carotid arteries was relatively hypoechoic and not easily visualized in brightness mode, so bidirectional color flow at the proximal internal carotid arteries was surprising. Adding power Doppler allowed me to conclude that there was presence of flow on the right, though minimal, and absolutely no flow in the left internal carotid artery.

Upon completion of the exam, I called the ER and spoke with the doctor, who asked me to bring Rose to the ER. Unfortunately, due to the location of the right internal carotid artery stenosis in the bony canal and total occlusion of the left internal carotid artery, surgery was not an option for clearing out the carotid plaque, but doctors believed she could continue functioning well with collateral vasculature carrying blood to her brain.

Thankfully, the patient passed her other pre-operative tests, consented to her surgery, and underwent general anesthesia with no complications. An 8-cm malignant mass was removed from her uterus and her prognosis is good.







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Part Three:

Cleveland Clinic Reports Equivalence between carotid endarterectomy (CEA) and open-heart surgery (OHS) and carotid artery stenting (CAS) followed by coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery or non-CABG cardiac surgery

Stent first, then heart surgery, for patients with severe carotid/coronary disease

AUGUST 1, 2013

Cleveland, OH – With the absence of randomized, controlled clinical trials to address the optimal management of patients with severe carotid and coronary artery disease, a new retrospective study suggests the best tactic is a staged approach that sees the patient undergo carotid artery stenting (CAS) followed by coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery or non-CABG cardiac surgery [1].

Investigators report that a combined approach that includes carotid endarterectomy (CEA) and open-heart surgery (OHS) is equivalent in terms of short-term outcomes with the staged CAS-OHS procedure. Beyond one year, however, the staged CAS-OHS approach resulted in the lowest risk of all-cause mortality, stroke, and MI when compared with a combined CEA-OHS procedure and staged CEA-OHS.

“The surgeons get very worried about doing operations on these patients because they don’t want to do a beautiful job on the bypass only to have the patient have a stroke,” lead investigator Dr Mehdi Shishehbor(Cleveland Clinic, OH) told heartwire.

Shishehbor said that when patients are undergoing open-heart surgery, whether it’s CABG or valve surgery, they are screened for carotid artery disease, given the heightened risk of stroke when undergoing heart surgery. As a result, various teams from neurology, vascular surgery, and interventional cardiology are called to address the safety of the surgery in the setting of severe carotid disease, said Shishehbor.

“These patients are the sickest of the sick in the sense that they have two conditions that are occurring concomitantly,” he said. “These are not patients who just have carotid disease. There are many patients who have moderate or mild carotid disease who undergo open-heart surgery with no problem. These are people with severe disease, those with more than 80% stenosis in one of their carotid arteries or maybe both. They also have severe coronary artery disease. These are people with left-main or three-vessel disease who are destined to undergo bypass.”

The whole point is to prevent stroke

In the study, published this week in the Journal of the American College Cardiology, the investigators reported data on 350 patients who underwent carotid revascularization and cardiac surgery. These included 45 patients who were treated with a staged CEA-OHS approach (OHS performed a median of 14 days after CEA), 110 who were treated with a staged CAS-OHS procedure (OHS performed a median of 47 days after CEA), and 195 patients treated with a combined CEA-OHS procedure. OHS is defined as CABG, CABG plus other cardiac procedures, or non-CABG cardiac surgery (isolated valve or aortic-repair surgery). In total, just 8% of procedures were non-CABG surgeries.

In a propensity-adjusted analysis analyzed by intention-to-treat, the 30-day risk of death, stroke, and MI was similar between the staged CAS-OHS and combined CEA-OHS procedures. The highest risk of the composite end point was observed in patients who underwent staged CEA-OHS.

At one year and beyond (median follow-up was 3.7 years), the staged CAS-OHS patients had the lowest risk of death, stroke, and MI. Compared with staged CEA-OHS, those treated with CAS-OHS had a 67% lower risk of death, stroke, and MI and a 65% lower risk compared with combined CEA-OHS.

Unadjusted comparison of primary/secondary end points

Event Staged CEA-OHS,n=45 (%) Combined CEA-OHS,n=195 (%) Staged CAS-OHS,n=110 (%) p
Overall 30-d risk post-OHS  31 10 10 0.003
Death 7 5 6 0.75
Stroke 2 7 2 0.11
MI 24 0.5 3 <0.001
Overall composite risk 1 y and beyond 27 39 12 <0.001
Death 38 39 11 <0.001
Stroke 2.2 1.5 0 0.37
MI 0 3.1 2.7 0.5

“In the long term, stenting [followed by OHS] definitely did better than the combined approach,” said Shishehbor. “What’s also important is that with the combined approach, the reason they didn’t do very well is because they had a higher rate of stroke in the perioperative period. . . . Remember the whole point of doing this is to prevent stroke. This is why we feel the combined approach is a little bit inferior to the staged CAS/open-heart-surgery approach. If you have a 7% risk of stroke in the 30-day perioperative period, that doesn’t appear to be the best option for the majority of patients.”

To heartwire, Shishehbor said that while the patients were well matched, the patients undergoing stenting tended to be sicker. For example, they were more likely to have symptomatic carotid stenosis and were more likely to have undergone a previous carotid revascularization. Shishehbor also said that clinical events occurring between the initial carotid artery revascularization procedure and OHS were included in the analysis. These deaths, strokes, and MIs were identified and accounted for in the data.

In an editorial accompanying the study [2], Drs Ehtisham Mahmud and Ryan Reeves (University of California, San Diego) say the work by the Cleveland Clinic group is strengthened by the propensity-adjusted analysis and long follow-up beyond the perioperative period. Most important, they say the study provides clarity for the management of patients with carotid and coronary disease.

  • “For patients presenting with an acute coronary syndrome requiring urgent coronary revascularization in whom waiting three to four weeks is not safe, combined CEA-OHS is the optimum revascularization strategy, though associated with higher neurological ischemic events,” write Mahmud and Reeves.
  • “However, for patients with a stable or an accelerating anginal syndrome who can wait three to four weeks to complete dual antiplatelet therapy [DAPT] after carotid stenting, staged CAS followed by OHS leads to superior early and long-term outcomes.”

Since completing the analysis, Shishehbor said there have been discussions with colleagues in vascular surgery, vascular medicine, cardiac surgery, and cardiology to establish the optimum way to treat patients with severe carotid and coronary disease. “The bottom line is that there will never be a randomized, clinical trial in this setting,” he told heartwire. “I hope there would be, but I doubt it. So I think papers like this are critical because we’re doing these procedures to prevent stroke. It’s important that we pick the right procedure for the right patient.”

Confounded by registry requirements
Shishehbor is also concerned about the scrutiny carotid stenting is under from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Currently, the CMS reimburses procedures for asymptomatic patients only if they are included in one of the industry-funded and -maintained registries. He believes the scrutiny has led to a dwindling number of clinicians with the expertise capable of doing the procedure, and this is concerning, since the present analysis shows there are cohorts of asymptomatic patients who would benefit from the treatment.In addition, to be included in a registry, an asymptomatic patient must receive DAPT with aspirin andclopidogrel for four weeks. If the patient does not meet the DAPT requirements, they can’t be included in the registry. However, Shishehbor said, many of these patients have significant coronary disease and can’t wait four weeks. As a result, they are treated with a combined CEA-OHS approach, an approach that is associated with a higher risk of stroke.
Shishehbor reports serving as a speaker and consultant for Abbot VascularMedtronicand Gore but waives all compensation for his work. Mahmud reports trial support from Boston Scientific and Abbott Vascular. In addition,he consults for Cordis and the Medicines Company and serves on the speakers bureau for Medtronic. Disclosures for the coauthors are listed in the paper.


  1. Shishehbor MH, Venkatachalam S, Sun Z, et al. A direct comparison of early and late outcomes with three approaches to carotid revascularization and open heart surgery. J Am Coll Cardiol 2013; available at: http://content.onlinejacc.org.
  2. Mahmud E, Reeves R. Carotid revascularization prior to open heart surgery: The data driven treatment strategy. J Am Coll Cardiol 2013; available at: http://content.onlinejacc.org.

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Carotid Endarterectomy (CEA) vs. Carotid Artery Stenting (CAS): Comparison of CMMS high-risk criteria on the Outcomes after Surgery:  Analysis of the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) Vascular Registry Data

Writer and Curator: Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP


Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN 

UPDATED on 9/25/2021

1-Year Results From a Prospective Experience on CAS Using the CGuard Stent System: The IRONGUARD 2 Study


J Am Coll Cardiol Intv, 14 (17) 1917–1923



The aim of this study was to evaluate the 1-year safety and efficacy of a dual-layered stent (DLS) for carotid artery stenting (CAS) in a multicenter registry.


DLS have been proved to be safe and efficient during short-term follow-up. Recent data have raised the concern that the benefit of CAS performed with using a DLS may be hampered by a higher restenosis rate at 1 year.


From January 2017 to June 2019, a physician-initiated, prospective, multispecialty registry enrolled 733 consecutive patients undergoing CAS using the CGuard embolic prevention system at 20 centers. The primary endpoint was the occurrence of death and stroke at 1 year. Secondary endpoints were 1-year rates of transient ischemic attack, acute myocardial infarction, internal carotid artery (ICA) restenosis, in-stent thrombosis, and external carotid artery occlusion.


At 1 year, follow-up was available in 726 patients (99.04%). Beyond 30 days postprocedure, 1 minor stroke (0.13%), four transient ischemic attacks (0.55%), 2 fatal acute myocardial infarctions (0.27%), and 6 noncardiac deaths (1.10%) occurred. On duplex ultrasound examination, ICA restenosis was found in 6 patients (0.82%): 2 total occlusions and 4 in-stent restenoses. No predictors of target ICA restenosis and/or occlusion could be detected, and dual-antiplatelet therapy duration (90 days vs 30 days) was not found to be related to major adverse cardiovascular event or restenosis occurrence.


This real-world registry suggests that DLS use in clinical practice is safe and associated with minimal occurrence of adverse neurologic events up to 12-month follow-up.


UPDATED on 8/5/2020

USPSTF advises against carotid artery stenosis screening

By Theresa Pablos, AuntMinnie staff writer

August 5, 2020 — The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is poised to once again recommend against screening for asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis. The task force reaffirmed its D rating in a draft recommendation statement published on August 4.

The USPSTF last weighed in on the topic in 2014, concluding with moderate certainty that the harms of screening for carotid artery stenosis in the general population outweighed the benefits. In its new draft recommendation statement, the agency reaffirmed that position, stating there was not enough new evidence to change its previous recommendation against screening with either carotid duplex ultrasound, CT angiography, or MR angiography.

“The USPSTF found no new substantial evidence that could change its recommendation and therefore reaffirms its recommendation,” the task force wrote.

In theory, screening the general population for stenosis could lead to early detection of narrowed blood vessels, thus enabling medical professionals to conduct potentially life-saving interventions, such as carotid endarterectomy (CEA) and carotid artery stenting (CAS). But the USPSTF concluded that the evidence it reviewed didn’t readily support that hypothesis.

The task force has consistently found limited evidence in favor of asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis screening, especially when compared with other medical therapies, such as statins and antihypertensive agents. And the evidence has been particularly lacking since the USPSTF’s last review in 2014.

USPSTF draft recommendation rationale for asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis
Detection Ultrasonography has reasonable sensitivity and specificity for detecting clinically relevant carotid artery stenosis, but it also yields many false-positive results in the general population.
Scanning the neck for carotid bruits has poor accuracy for clinically relevant carotid artery stenosis.
Benefits Direct evidence does not indicate that screening for asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis can improve stroke, mortality, or other adverse health outcomes.
Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) or carotid artery angioplasty and stenting (CAS) provides little or no benefit for improving stroke, myocardial infarction, mortality, or other adverse outcomes compared with current medical therapy.
Harms While direct evidence does not show that screening for asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis can cause harm, there are known harms with confirmatory testing and interventions.
Direct evidence supports that treating asymptomatic patients with CEA or CAS could cause harms, including stroke or death.
Harms related to screening and treating asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis have small-to-moderate magnitude.

After searching the scientific literature, USPSTF investigators found no recent eligible studies that directly investigated the benefits or harms of asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis screening. The two studies that were conducted on the topic in the past six years were both prematurely terminated and produced mixed results.

When looking at the benefits and harms of CEA or CAS, the authors found an additional two national datasets and three surgical registries that met their inclusion criteria. Rates of 30-day postoperative stroke or death after CEA ranged from 1.4% to 3.5% depending on the registry or database. Similarly, 30-day stroke or death after CAS ranged from 2.6% to 5.1%.

Based on the evidence — or lack thereof — the investigators concluded there wasn’t enough new information to change the D rating for asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis screening. However, they pointed out that two clinical trials are currently underway, which may shed light on the topic in the future.

“There were few new trials, all with methodologic concerns, examining the important question of the comparative effectiveness and harms of revascularization plus best medical treatment compared with best medical treatment alone,” they wrote. “The ongoing CREST-2 and ECST-2 trials will be the largest trials to address this issue.”

The draft recommendation is available for public comment through August 31. After the comment period has ended, the task force will publish its final recommendation.

USPSTF opens review of carotid stenosis screening
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has posted a draft research plan on screening for asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis, an exam that…
USPSTF still against US carotid artery stenosis screening
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has finalized its draft recommendation advising against the use of widespread ultrasound screening for…
USPSTF advises against carotid artery screening
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has issued a draft recommendation against ultrasound screening for asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis…
USPSTF to revisit carotid artery stenosis screening
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) plans to review its guidelines on the use of imaging to screen patients for asymptomatic carotid artery…



UPDATED on 8/20/2018

Transcarotid Artery Revascularization Shows Favorable Outcomes in Patients With Carotid Artery Disease

First large body of real-world clinical evidence showing benefits of TCAR versus surgery presented at SVS 2018 Annual Meeting

Transcarotid Artery Revascularization Shows Favorable Outcomes in Patients With Carotid Artery Disease

July 30, 2018 — Silk Road Medical Inc. recently announced the presentation of real-world data for the treatment of patients with carotid artery disease at risk for stroke at the Society for Vascular Surgery 2018 Vascular Annual Meeting (VAM), June 20-23 in Boston. In a headline presentation, Marc Schermerhorn, M.D., of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Boston) shared, for the first time, results from the ongoing TransCarotid Artery Revascularization (TCAR) Surveillance Project, a key initiative of the Society for Vascular Surgery’s Vascular Quality Initiative (VQI).

The trial evaluated patients over a two-year period, with 1,182 patients receiving TCAR compared to 10,797 patients receiving carotid endarterectomy (CEA).

“Our overall findings showed that while patients receiving TCAR were sicker and more likely to be symptomatic with a higher degree of stenosis, the stroke and death rate compared to CEA was the same,” Schermerhorn said. “With TCAR, there were significantly lower cranial nerve injuries, less time spent in the operating room and fewer patients with a prolonged length of stay. I believe that clinicians should more widely adopt the TCAR technology as it has demonstrated both safety and efficacy and is an excellent alternative to CEA.”

Significant findings from the study showed TCAR to have:

  • Comparable rates of in-hospital stroke or death to CEA (TCAR, 1.6 percent; CEA, 1.4 percent, p=.33);
  • Lower rates of acute cranial nerve injury (TCAR, 0.6 percent; CEA, 1.8 percent, p<.001);
  • Shorter operative times (TCAR, 78 min; CEA, 111 min, p<.001); and
  • Shorter hospital stays, despite patients being older and sicker (percent of hospitals stays longer than one night: TCAR, 27%; CEA, 30%, p=0.046).

TCAR is a clinically proven procedure combining surgical principles of neuroprotection with minimally invasive endovascular techniques to treat blockages in the carotid artery at risk of causing a stroke. The TCAR Surveillance Project is the largest single body of evidence reported since the launch of TCAR in 2016.

Additional TCAR presentations highlighted at SVS VAM 2018 demonstrated similar results:

“Vascular Live: Latest Stroke Prevention Data Signals Standard of Care Potential in Carotid Revascularization” provided an interim update on the ROADSTER 2 Per Protocol data set. The ROADSTER 2 trial is a post-market study intended to enroll a minimum of 600 patients and with at least 70 percent enrollment completed by newly trained operators. Peter Schneider, M.D., of Kaiser Permanente (Honolulu) and co-principal investigator for the ROADSTER 2 trial, presented interim results on 470 patients. Schneider highlighted a 30-day stroke rate of 0.6 percent and a stroke/death rate of 0.9 percent, consistent with the outcomes seen in the pivotal ROADSTER trial.

“A Multi-Institutional Analysis of Contemporary Outcomes after TransCarotid Artery Revascularization versus Carotid Endarterectomy” compared outcomes of TCAR to CEA across four institutions. Alex King of University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center (Ohio) presented results showing that patients undergoing TCAR (n=292), had similar 30-day stroke rates (TCAR, 1 percent; CEA, 1.1 percent, p=1.00) compared with patients undergoing CEA (n=371), despite being more likely to have significant comorbidities. Acute (TCAR, 0.3 percent; CEA, 4.1 percent, p<.01) and six-month cranial nerve injury rates (TCAR, 0 percent; CEA: 1.9 percent, p=0.02) were shown to be lower with TCAR vs CEA.

The Enroute Transcarotid Stent is intended to be used in conjunction with the Enroute Transcarotid Neuroprotection System (NPS) during the TCAR procedure. The Enroute Transcarotid NPS is used to directly access the common carotid artery and initiate high rate temporary blood flow reversal to protect the brain from stroke while delivering and implanting the Enroute Transcarotid Stent.

For more information: www.silkroadmed.com

This is a review of the impact of the Centers for Medair and Medicaid Services on carotid artery endovascular outcomes carried out by the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at Harvard Medical School, Partners.

The impact of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services high-risk criteria on outcome after carotid endarterectomy and carotid artery stenting in the SVS Vascular Registry.

Schermerhorn ML, Fokkema M, Goodney P, Dillavou ED, Jim J, Kenwood CT, Siami FS, White RA; SVS Outcomes Committee.
 J Vasc Surg. 2013 May;57(5):1318-24.   http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2012.10.107. Epub 2013 Feb 11.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) require high-risk (HR) criteria for carotid artery stenting (CAS) reimbursement. The impact of these criteria on outcomes after carotid endarterectomy (CEA) and CAS remains uncertain. Additionally, if these HR criteria are associated with more adverse events after CAS, then existing comparative effectiveness analysis of CEA vs CAS may be biased. We sought to elucidate this using data from the SVS Vascular Registry.
We analyzed 10,107 patients undergoing CEA (6370) and CAS (3737), stratified by CMS HR criteria. The primary endpoint was composite death, stroke, and myocardial infarction (MI) (major adverse cardiovascular event [MACE]) at 30 days. We compared baseline characteristics and outcomes using univariate and multivariable analyses.
CAS patients were more likely than CEA to have
  • preoperative stroke (26% vs 21%) or
  • transient ischemic attack (23% vs 19%) .
Although age ≥ 80 years was similar, CAS patients were more likely to have all other HR criteria.
For CEA, HR patients had higher MACEs than normal risk in both
  • symptomatic (7.3% vs 4.6%; P < .01) and
  • asymptomatic patients (5% vs 2.2%; P < .0001).
For CAS, HR status was not associated with a significant increase in MACE for
  • symptomatic (9.1% vs 6.2%; P = .24) or
  • asymptomatic patients (5.4% vs 4.2%; P = .61).
All CAS patients had MACE rates similar to HR CEA. After multivariable risk adjustment, CAS had higher rates than CEA
  • for MACE (odds ratio [OR], 1.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0-1.5),
  • death (OR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.0-2.2), and
  • stroke (OR, 1.3; 95% CI,1.0-1.7),
whereas there was no difference in MI (OR, 0.8; 95% CI, 0.6-1.3).
Among CEA patients, MACE was predicted by:
  • age ≥ 80 (OR, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.02-1.8),
  • congestive heart failure (OR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.03-2.8),
  • EF <30% (OR, 3.5; 95% CI, 1.6-7.7),
  • angina (OR, 3.9; 95% CI, 1.6-9.9),
  • contralateral occlusion (OR, 3.2; 95% CI, 2.1-4.7), and
  • high anatomic lesion (OR, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.33-5.6).
Among CAS patients, recent MI (OR, 3.2; 95% CI, 1.5-7.0) was predictive, and
  • radiation (OR, 0.6; 95% CI, 0.4-0.8) and
  • restenosis (OR, 0.5; 95% CI, 0.3-0.96) …..were protective for MACE
Although CMS HR criteria can successfully discriminate a group of patients at HR for adverse events after CEA, certain CMS HR criteria are more important than others. However, CEA appears safer for the majority of patients with carotid disease. Among patients undergoing CAS, non-HR status may be limited to restenosis and radiation.
This study was preceded by another publication 5-years earlier involving ML Schermerhorn, of the study above.

Risk-adjusted 30-day outcomes of carotid stenting and endarterectomy: results from the SVS Vascular Registry.

Sidawy AN, Zwolak RM, White RA, Siami FS, Schermerhorn ML, Sicard GA; Outcomes Committee for the Society for Vascular Surgery.
Department of Surgery, Washington VA Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA.
J Vasc Surg. 2009 Jan;49(1):71-9. http:/dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2008.08.039. Epub 2008 Nov 22.
As of December 26, 2007, 6403 procedures with discharge data were entered by 287 providers at 56 centers on 2763 CAS patients (1450 with 30-day outcomes, 52.5%) and 3259 CEA patients (1368 with 30-day outcomes, 42%).
Of the total cohort, 98% of CEA and 70.7% of CAS (P < .001) were performed for atherosclerotic disease.
  • Restenosis accounted for 22.3% and
  • post-radiation induced stenosis in 4.5% of CAS patients.
Preprocedure lateralizing neurologic symptoms were present in a greater proportion of – CAS patients (49.2%) than CEA patients (42.4%, P < .001).
CAS patients also had higher preprocedure prevalence of
  1. coronary artery disease (CAD),
  2. MI,
  3. congestive heart failure (CHF),
  4. chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and
  5. cardiac arrhythmia.
For CAS, death/stroke/MI at 30 days was
  • 7.13% for symptomatic patients and 4.60% for asymptomatic patients (P = .04).
For CEA, death/stroke/MI at 30 days was
  • 3.75% in symptomatic patients and 1.97% in asymptomatic patients (P = .05).
After risk-adjustment for age, history of stroke, diabetes, and American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) grade (ie, factors found to be significant confounders in outcomes using backwards elimination),
logistic regression analysis suggested better outcomes following CEA.
When CAS and CEA were compared in the treatment of atherosclerotic disease only, the difference in outcomes between the two procedures was more pronounced, with
  • death/stroke/MI 6.42% after CAS vs 2.62% following CEA, P < .0001.
With continued enrollment and follow-up, analysis of SVS-VR will supplement randomized trials by providing real-world comparisons of CAS and CEA with sufficient numbers to serve as an outcome assessment tool of important patient subsets and across the spectrum of peripheral vascular procedures.
J Vasc Surg. 2012 May;55(5):1313-20; discussion 1321. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2011.11.128. Epub 2012 Mar 28.

Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) Vascular Registry evaluation of comparative effectiveness of carotid revascularization procedures stratified by Medicare age.

Jim JRubin BGRicotta JJ 2ndKenwood CTSiami FSSicard GASVS Outcomes Committee.


Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Mo., USA.



Recent randomized controlled trials have shown that age significantly affects the outcome of carotid revascularization procedures. This study used data from the Society for Vascular Surgery Vascular Registry (VR) to report the influence of age on the comparative effectiveness of carotid endarterectomy (CEA) and carotid artery stenting (CAS).


VR collects provider-reported data on patients using a Web-based database. Patients were stratified by age and symptoms. The primary end point was the composite outcome of death, stroke, or myocardial infarction (MI) at 30 days.


As of December 7, 2010, there were 1347 CEA and 861 CAS patients aged < 65 years and 4169 CEA and 2536 CAS patients aged ≥ 65 years. CAS patients in both age groups were more likely to have a disease etiology of radiation or restenosis, be symptomatic, and have more cardiac comorbidities. In patients aged <65 years, the primary end point (5.23% CAS vs 3.56% CEA; P = .065) did not reach statistical significance. Subgroup analyses showed that CAS had a higher combined death/stroke/MI rate (4.44% vs 2.10%; P < .031) in asymptomatic patients but there was no difference in the symptomatic (6.00% vs 5.47%; P = .79) group. In patients aged ≥ 65 years, CEA had lower rates of death (0.91% vs 1.97%; P < .01), stroke (2.52% vs 4.89%; P < .01), and composite death/stroke/MI (4.27% vs 7.14%; P < .01). CEA in patients aged ≥ 65 years was associated with lower rates of the primary end point in symptomatic (5.27% vs 9.52%; P < .01) and asymptomatic (3.31% vs 5.27%; P < .01) subgroups. After risk adjustment, CAS patients aged ≥ 65 years were more likely to reach the primary end point.


Compared with CEA, CAS resulted in inferior 30-day outcomes in symptomatic and asymptomatic patients aged ≥ 65 years. These findings do not support the widespread use of CAS in patients aged ≥ 65 years.

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Other related articles published in this Open Access Online Scientific Journal

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm: Endovascular repair and open repair resulted in similar long-term survival  (Aviva Lev-Ari)
Competition in the Ecosystem of Medical Devices in Cardiac and Vascular Repair: Heart Valves, Stents, Catheterization Tools and Kits for Open Heart and Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS)  (Aviva Lev-Ari)
Bioabsorbable Drug Coating Scaffolds, Stents and Dual Antiplatelet Therapy (Aviva Lev-Ari)
Vascular Repair: Stents and Biologically Active Implants (larryhbern)
Drug Eluting Stents: On MIT’s Edelman Lab’s Contributions to Vascular Biology and its Pioneering Research on DES  (larryhbern)
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR): Postdilatation to Reduce Paravalvular Regurgitation During TAVR with a Balloon-expandable Valve  (larryhbern)
Acute and Chronic Myocardial Infarction: Quantification of Myocardial Perfusion Viability – FDG-PET/MRI vs. MRI or PET alone  (Justin Pearlman, Aviva Lev-Ari)
Biomaterials Technology: Models of Tissue Engineering for Reperfusion and Implantable Devices for Revascularization (larryhbern)
Revascularization: PCI, Prior History of PCI vs CABG  (A Lev-Ari)
Accurate Identification and Treatment of Emergent Cardiac Events (larryhbern)
FDA Pending 510(k) for The Latest Cardiovascular Imaging Technology (A Lev-Ari)
The ACUITY-PCI score: Will it Replace Four Established Risk Scores — TIMI, GRACE, SYNTAX, and Clinical SYNTAX  (A Lev-Ari)
Absorb™ Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold: An International Launch by Abbott Laboratories (Aviva Lev-Ari)
Carotid Stenting: Vascular surgeons have pointed to more minor strokes in the stenting group and cardiologists to more myocardial infarctions in the CEA cohort. (A Lev-Ari)
Global Supplier Strategy for Market Penetration & Partnership Options (Niche Suppliers vs. National Leaders) in the Massachusetts Cardiology & Vascular Surgery Tools and Devices Market for Cardiac Operating Rooms and Angioplasty Suites (A Lev-Ari)
English: FIG. 513 – The internal carotid and v...

English: FIG. 513 – The internal carotid and vertebral arteries. Right side. Deutsch: Rechte Arteria carotis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Carotid Plaque Atherosclerotic plaque from a c...

Carotid Plaque Atherosclerotic plaque from a carotid endarterectomy specimen. This shows the bifurcation of the common into the internal and external carotid arteries. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Right common carotid artery - The Anatomy of t...

Right common carotid artery – The Anatomy of the Arteries Visual Guide, page 5 (of 57) (Photo credit: Rob Swatski)

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Carotid Stenting: Vascular surgeons have pointed to more minor strokes in the stenting group and cardiologists to more myocardial infarctions in the CEA cohort.

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD,RN

Why CREST is a Game Changer for Carotid Stenting


Speaker: Gary Roubin, MD, PhD

The CREST Trial was the largest, most rigorous and because of the way it was conducted, the most relevant investigation into the role of carotid stenting to date.

The National Institute of Neurological Diseases after critical review concluded that the study “Demonstrated that Endarterectomy and Stenting were equally efficacious methods of preventing stroke caused by carotid bifurcation stenoses.”

The primary endpoint was unequivocal but the components of this combined endpoint have been dissected by various groups to support different conclusions. Vascular surgeons have pointed to more minor strokes in the stenting group and cardiologists to more myocardial infarctions in the CEA cohort. The CREST Trial demonstrated remarkable safety from both procedures with a very low and similar major stroke and death rate.  The small numbers of excess strokes in the stenting group were minor strokes and importantly further analyses of temporal trends have demonstrated this delta disappeared over the course of the study.  Stenting stroke rates improved over time probably related to better selection of younger patients with more suitable anatomy for stenting.

If CREST was to restart in 2012, it is extremely unlikely that any difference whatsoever would be seen in comparing CEA and Stenting.

Importantly, minor strokes were not associated with a later excess mortality while a periprocedural MI was associated with death over the follow up period.

Quality of life analyses reflected the minor, non disabling nature of the small number of excess minor strokes.  The comprehensive panel of SF36 mental and physical quality of life measures demonstrated no difference whatsoever between stenting and CEA.

Despite completing the study with first generation stents and embolic protection devices, the outcomes were gratifying.  A critical FDA panel subsequently approved the extension of labeling for stenting use in standard risk CEA patients.

Now we await a considered response from CMS to acknowledge the demonstration of “reasonable safety and efficacy” and long awaited reimbursement for this patient friendly, percutaneous procedure.

We now are experiencing a curious push back from some in the neurological community and even some surgeons who argue that neither CEA nor stenting are needed in the treatment of asymptomatic patients. 

  • This—despite multiple trials that have demonstrated the superiority of revascularization and markedly improved revascularization results.
  • This—despite no scientific evidence to support the equivalence of medical therapy in preventing stroke in carotid bifurcation disease.


Panel Discussion



The CREST data stand on their own merits. Looking at the survival curves for minor stroke versus myocardial infarction, as a surgeon who does a large volume of CEA and stenting, I am impressed with the benign outcome in the minor strokes and the bad outcomes associated with M.I. Again, as a surgeon, I doubt we can do anything to reduce the incidence of MI, but as a stent operator, I feel we can do much more to further reduce the incidence of stroke events.

For example, the neurological community has focused on the ICSS Trial sub-study that demonstrated a significant incidence of MRI-DWI defects after stenting. We don’t really know what DWI changes mean but the neurological community assumes they are bad.  We see a 15-20% incidence with just a routine angiogram and they are probably just micro-bubbles causing these temporary defects. In the ICSS trials, the incidence of these lesions was 50% in the stent arm and 12% in the CEA arm.   The conclusion was that stenting was “bad” but embolic protection devices were only used in 75% of the ICSS patients. Now we have new devices such as proximal occlusion balloons that have been shown to markedly reduce the incidence of these lesions. So, this is just one example of new stenting techniques that will reduce the incidence of stroke to even lower rates. There is also a lot of activity in the industry to make carotid stents covered with a fine, semi-permeable membrane that will reduce the chance of embolic debris from the procedure. With current devices and certainly the stent used in CREST, debris may be forced through the stent strut when you dilate.

So to me these are just two examples of things that will improve the stroke rate from the current 1% to 3% to near zero.


I am not sure what happened at the Medicare Coverage Advisory Meeting last week (January 2012) but basically the committee did not appear to focus on the CREST data.


One of the most important differentiating features of CREST compared to the European Trials was the emphasis on operator credentialing and ongoing training of operators over the 8 years of recruitment.  This is evidenced by the improvement of stent outcomes over the time course of the trial.

I also want to point out that none of these trials place enough emphasis on cranial nerve injuries that are an exclusive and important complication of CEA.  In CREST there was a 4.5% incidence of cranial nerve palsy in the CEA cohort, and 2% were still present at 6 months.


I firmly believe that CREST is a “game changer.” I spent a full day at the Medicare Coverage Advisory Committee last week (January 2012). Two things happened. The first was that the entire discussion was derailed by irrelevant discussion of the supposed value of medical therapy. As Ty said before, nobody appeared to be focused on the CREST data but was distracted by arguments about the value of medical management. A neurologist, Anne Abbott, took a large amount of time basically “trouncing” any type of revascularization therapy. 

The critical consideration by the FDA and their approval of the devices for this indication is a better representation of where we stand today. Interdisciplinary factional disputes and politics aside, I believe CMS will want to expand the coverage for carotid stenting in some way.


I will say that although CREST is a “game changer”, it seems the cards may be stacked against stenting.  Besides the cost issues that may be associated with expanded coverage, they are influenced by the self interest of the Society of Vascular Surgery that decided they were not going to support the data. If coverage is not expanded for stenting, I wonder if it is not unreasonable for other professional societies to conclude and pronounce that CEA should not be reimbursed in asymptomatic patients.


CMS would be interested in that.  I actually think that given the dialogue on the day, it definitely could have gone that way.


It is fascinating to think about this. Given all of the level 1 scientific data supporting revascularization over medical therapy, in the United States today, CEA is the standard of care. Primary care physicians throughout the country recommend this for patients with severe stenoses. CMS is basically talking about erasing that standard of care or now an equivalent procedure from a reimbursement standpoint.


Let us all be clear about the evidence from CREST. In the younger patients, male patients and asymptomatic patients there was no significant difference in outcomes for stroke and death between stenting and CEA. 


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