Surgery to Prevent Stroke Worthwhile

Study finds carotid artery cleaning useful in people over 80 who face high risk

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THURSDAY, June 12, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Surgery can greatly benefit people 80 years and older who face a high risk of stroke.

That conclusion comes from a University of Western Australia study in the June 13 online issue of Stroke.

The study looked at 1,796 people -- 151 of whom were 80 or older -- who had carotid endarterectomy surgery. That involves the surgical removal of harmful plaque from the carotid arteries in the neck.

In previous studies, the surgery has been shown to reduce the incidence of stroke in people with symptomatic carotid artery stenosis, which is a blockage of the arteries. But those studies didn't include people 80 years and older.

This new study found the five-year survival rate for people 80 and older who had carotid endaterectomy was 64.9 percent, compared to patients younger than 80.

However, compared to a matched population in age and other factors outside the study, the relative survival rate for those over 80 was 118 percent (18 percent better), compared to 95 percent (5 percent worse) for younger patients.

The study also found none of the people aged 80 or older were among the 1 percent of people in the study who suffered nonfatal strokes within 30 days of having the surgery.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about stroke.

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, June 12, 2003

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