Indexed on: 25 Oct '07Published on: 25 Oct '07Published in: Nature clinical practice. Cardiovascular medicine
Over the past 15 years, we have witnessed a resurgence of surgery for prevention of ischemic stroke. Landmark trials including the North American Symptomatic Carotid Endarterectomy Trial and the European Carotid Surgery Trial have explored the role of carotid endarterectomy in this context, comparing the procedure with best medical treatment in patients with high-grade stenosis of the internal carotid artery and transient ischemic attack or minor nondisabling stroke in the same territory. Here, we discuss the lessons learnt from these trials, and review the Asymptomatic Carotid Atherosclerosis Study and the Asymptomatic Carotid Surgery Trial, which attempted to resolve the rather vexing issue of surgical treatment for patients with asymptomatic internal carotid artery stenosis. We also review the best medical treatment for patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy in the perioperative period, and examine the risk of ischemic stroke after CABG surgery, both when this procedure is performed alongside endarterectomy and when CABG surgery and endarterectomy are performed as a two-staged procedure.