Indexed on: 03 Jul '16Published on: 03 Jul '16Published in: European Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
The objective of this study was to evaluate the risk of recurrent ischaemic stroke in patients with ultrasound assessed symptomatic mild carotid artery stenosis (20-49% NASCET) treated solely with modern medical treatment.This was a retrospective, observational register cohort study. Three groups of patients were recruited from a database of all carotid Doppler ultrasound examinations performed in the Gothenburg region between 2004 and 2009. Patients with symptomatic mild carotid artery stenosis (n = 162) were compared with patients with asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis (n = 301) of equal degree and a group of patients with surgically (CEA) treated symptomatic moderate or severe carotid artery stenosis (n = 220). Kaplan-Meier estimates and Cox proportional hazard models were used to compare the primary outcome (ipsilateral ischaemic stroke) between groups.After a 3 year follow up, the cumulative incidence of recurrent ipsilateral stroke in patients with symptomatic mild carotid artery stenosis was 7.4%. Patients with symptomatic mild carotid artery stenosis had a substantially increased risk of recurrent ipsilateral stroke compared with asymptomatic patients with equal degree of stenosis (HR 5.5. 95% CI 1.8-17.1; p = .003) as also compared with patients with CEA treated symptomatic moderate or severe stenosis (HR 7.8. 95% CI 1.62-37.8; p = .011).The present study on patients with symptomatic mild carotid artery stenosis, as determined by Doppler ultrasound, shows that there is still a substantial risk of recurrent stroke in this group.