Carotid endarterectomy in adults 50 years of age and younger: A retrospective comparative study

P. J. Levy, J. W. Olin, M. R. Piedmonte, J. R. Young, N. R. Hertzer

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18 Scopus citations


Purpose: Atherosclerotic carotid artery stenosis (CAS) is the most common cause of stroke in young adults. We retrospectively studied clinical characteristics of premature CAS and the safety and durability of carotid endarterectomy (CEA) in 56 patients 50 years of age or younger (mean, 46.4 years; 34 (60%) males; group I) who underwent primary CEA at the Cleveland Clinic between 1983 and 1993. Methods: The patients were identified from the Vascular Surgery Registry and were compared with 202 randomly selected patients 60 years of age and older (mean, 69.3 years; group II) who were frequency-matched by gender and the year of primary CEA. Carotid shunting was used routinely, and the arteriotomy was patched in the majority of cases. Patients were followed-up for mean of 47.2 months (group I) and 46.0 months (group II). Results: No significant differences were found in the indications for CEA (symptomatic CAS, 49% in group I vs 48% in group II) or the prevalence of diabetes, coronary diseases, and lower extremity arterial disease. Younger adults were more likely to have a history of smoking (93% vs 76%; p = 0.005), hypertension (71% vs 52%; p = 0.006), premature menopause (57% vs 18%; p < 0.001) and had lower levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (p = 0.03). There were no in-hospital deaths. Perioperative strokes in the distribution of the operated artery occurred within 24 hours in one younger patient (1.8%) and in one older patient (0.5%). This was attributed to early carotid thrombosis in the young patient. Major late postoperative neurologic complications were documented in one young patient (1.8%) and six older patients (3%). Patients in group I were at significantly higher risk for recurrent carotid stenosis (risk ratio, 3.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3 to 7.3; p = 0.010); younger individuals remained at significantly higher risk for recurrent stenosis even after adjusting for smoking and hypertension (risk ratio, 3.7; 95% CI, 1.5 to 9.4; p = 0.006). By life-table analysis, younger adults tended to have a higher rate of late reoperations (p = 0.065). Conclusions: CEA can be safely performed in young adults with premature CAS, although younger individuals appear to have higher rates of recurrent carotid stenosis compared with older counterparts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-331
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


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