Controversy persists regarding the optimal management of subclinical coronary artery disease (CAD) prior to carotid endarterectomy (CEA) and the impact of CAD on clinical outcomes after CEA. This study aimed to evaluate the short-term surgical risks and long-term outcomes of patients with subclinical CAD who underwent CEA.
The authors performed a retrospective study of data from a prospective CEA registry. They analyzed a total of 702 cases involving patients without a history of CAD who received preoperative cardiac risk assessment by radionuclide myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) and underwent CEA over a 10-year period. The management strategy (the necessity, sequence, and treatment modality of coronary revascularization and optimal perioperative medical treatment) was determined according to the presence, severity, and extent of CAD as determined by preoperative MPI and additional coronary computed tomography angiography and/or coronary angiography. Perioperative cardiac damage was defined on the basis of postoperative elevation of the blood level of cardiac troponin I (0.05–0.5 ng/ml) in the absence of myocardial ischemia. The primary endpoint was the composite of any stroke, myocardial infarction, or death during the perioperative period and all-cause mortality within 4 years of CEA. The associations between clinical outcomes after CEA and subclinical CAD were analyzed.
Concomitant subclinical CAD was observed in 81 patients (11.5%). These patients did have a higher incidence of perioperative cardiac damage (13.6% vs 0.5%, p < 0.01), but they had similar primary endpoint incidences during the perioperative period (2.5% vs.1.8%, p = 0.65) and similar estimated 4-year primary endpoint rates (13.6% vs 12.4%, p = 0.76) as the patients without subclinical CAD. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that the 2 groups had similar rates of overall survival (p = 0.75).
Patients with subclinical CAD can undergo CEA with acceptable short- and long-term outcomes provided they receive selective coronary revascularization and optimal perioperative medical treatment.