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Impact of clinical trial results on the temporal trends of carotid endarterectomy and stenting from 2002 to 2014

Hussain MA, Mamdani M, Tu JV, Saposnik G, Khoushhal Z, Aljabri B, Verma S, Al-Omran M. Stroke. 2016; 47(12):2923-30.


Background and Purpose — Randomized trials provide conflicting data for the efficacy of carotid-artery stenting compared with endarterectomy. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of conflicting clinical trial publications on the utilization rates of carotid revascularization procedures.

Methods — We conducted a population-level time-series analysis of all individuals who underwent carotid endarterectomy and stenting in Ontario, Canada (2002–2014). The primary analysis examined temporal changes in the rates of carotid revascularization procedures after publications of major randomized trials. Secondary analyses examined changes in overall and age, sex, carotid-artery symptom, and operator specialty–specific procedure rates.

Results — A total of 16 772 patients were studied (14 394 endarterectomy [86%]; 2378 stenting [14%]). The overall rate of carotid revascularization decreased from 6.0 procedures per 100 000 individuals ≥40 years old in April 2002 to 4.3 procedures in the first quarter of 2014 (29% decrease; P<0.001). The rate of endarterectomy decreased by 36% (P<0.001), whereas the rate of carotid-artery stenting increased by 72% (P=0.006). We observed a marked increase (P=0.01) in stenting after publication of the SAPPHIRE trial (Stenting and Angioplasty With Protection in Patients at High Risk for Endarterectomy) in 2004, whereas stenting remained relatively unchanged after subsequent randomized trials published in 2006 (P=0.11) and 2010 (P=0.34). In contrast, endarterectomy decreased after trials published in 2006 (P=0.04) and 2010 (P=0.005).

Conclusions — Although the overall rates of carotid revascularization and endarterectomy have fallen since 2002, the rate of carotid-artery stenting has risen since the publication of stenting-favorable SAPPHIRE trial. Subsequent conflicting randomized trials were associated with a decreasing rate of carotid endarterectomy.

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Keywords: Surgery Cardiovascular diseases Health services research

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