Experts Support Artery-Clearing Surgery to Prevent Stroke

Carotid endarterectomy advised for those with clogged vessels and prior stroke history

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MONDAY, Sept. 26, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- An expert panel from the American Academy of Neurology are in favor of using carotid endarterectomy to prevent strokes in people who have a severe blockage (70 percent to 99 percent) in a carotid artery.

Carotid endarterectomy is a surgical procedure used to remove plaque and fatty deposits from the carotid arteries, which run from the chest through the neck. These arteries are the main suppliers of blood to the brain and are often implicated in stroke, which affects an estimated 700,000 Americans each year.

The guideline authors reviewed all available scientific evidence on carotid endarterectomy, and concluded that the procedure is effective for patients with severe carotid artery blockage and recent symptoms of stroke or what's known as a transient ischemic attack or "mini-stroke."

The procedure may also be considered for people with moderate (50 percent to 69 percent) carotid artery blockage and recent stroke symptoms.

The guideline also stipulates that carotid endarterectomy be considered for people between the ages of 40 and 75 with moderate to severe carotid artery blockage but with no symptoms of stroke or disease if the patient has at least a five-year life expectancy and if the surgery can be done with a low complication rate.

For people with less than 50 percent blockage, medical treatment is preferred over carotid endarterectomy, conclude the guidelines, which are published in the Sept. 27 issue of Neurology.

More information

The Society for Vascular Surgery has more about carotid endarterectomy.

SOURCE: American Academy of Neurology, news release, Sept. 26, 2005

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