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Outcomes of carotid artery stenting at a high-volumeBrazilian interventional neuroradiology centerLuis Henrique de Castro-Afonso,I Guilherme Seizem Nakiri,I Lucas Moretti Monsignore,I

Daniela dos Santos,I Millene Rodrigues Camilo,II Francisco Antunes Dias,II Pedro Telles Cougo-Pinto,II

Clara Monteiro Antunes Barreira,II Frederico Fernandes Alessio-Alves,II Soraia Ramos Cabette Fabio,II

Octavio Marques Pontes-Neto,II Daniel Giansante AbudI*

I Universidade de Sao Paulo, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirao Preto, Division of Interventional Neuroradiology, Ribeirao Preto/SP, Brazil. II Universidade

de Sao Paulo, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirao Preto, Division of Vascular Neurology, Ribeirao Preto/SP, Brazil.

OBJECTIVES: Carotid artery stenting is an emerging revascularization alternative to carotid endarterectomy.However, guidelines have recommended carotid artery stenting only if the rate of periprocedural stroke ordeath is , 6% among symptomatic patients and , 3% among asymptomatic patients. The aim of this study is toevaluate and compare clinical outcomes of symptomatic and asymptomatic patients who had undergonecarotid artery stenting as a first-intention treatment.

METHOD: A retrospective analysis of patients who underwent carotid artery stenting by our interventionalneuroradiology team was conducted. Patients were divided into two groups: symptomatic and asymptomaticpatients. The primary endpoints were ipsilateral ischemic stroke, ipsilateral parenchymal hemorrhage andmajor adverse cardiac and cerebrovascular events at 30 days. The secondary endpoints included ipsilateralischemic stroke, ipsilateral parenchymal hemorrhage, ipsilateral transient ischemic attack and major adversecardiac and cerebrovascular events between the 1- and 12-month follow-ups.

RESULTS: A total of 200 consecutive patients were evaluated. The primary endpoints obtained in thesymptomatic vs. asymptomatic groups were ipsilateral stroke (2.4% vs. 2.7%, p = 1.00), ipsilateral parenchymalhemorrhage (0.8% vs. 0.0%, p = 1.00) and major adverse cardiac and cerebrovascular events (4.7% vs. 2.7%,p = 0.71). The secondary endpoints obtained in the symptomatic vs. asymptomatic groups were ipsilateralischemic stroke (0.0% vs. 0.0%), ipsilateral parenchymal hemorrhage (0.0% vs. 0.0%), ipsilateral TIA (0.0% vs.0.0%, p = 1.00) and major adverse cardiac and cerebrovascular events (11.2% vs. 4.1%, p = 0.11).

CONCLUSIONS: In this retrospective study, carotid artery stenting was similarly safe and effective whenperformed as a first-intention treatment in both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. The study resultscomply with the safety requirements from current recommendations to perform carotid artery stenting as analternative treatment to carotid endarterectomy.

KEYWORDS: Carotids angioplasty stenting; Symptomatic carotid artery stenosis; Asymptomatic carotid arterystenosis; Carotid endarterectomy.

Castro-Afonso LH, Nakiri GS, Monsignore LM, Santos D, Camilo MR, Dias FA, et al. Outcomes of carotid artery stenting at a high-volumeBrazilian interventional neuroradiology center. Clinics. 2015;70(3):180-184.

Received for publication on August 25, 2014; First review completed on January 5, 2015; Accepted for publication on January 5, 2015

E-mail: dgabud@fmrp.usp.br

*corresponding author


Carotid artery stenosis is associated with approximately15% of all ischemic strokes (1,2). Carotid endarterectomy(CEA) is indicated for the revascularization of carotid

stenosis, with the goal of stroke prevention (3). Carotidartery stenting (CAS) is an emerging alternative to CEA;however, safety requirements from current guidelines haverecommended CAS only if the rate of periprocedural strokeor death is , 6% among symptomatic patients or , 3%among asymptomatic patients (1,2). Despite the increasingindication of CAS procedures following publication of theCREST trial results (4), evaluating safety data on CASoutside of randomized trials is necessary to externallyvalidate the procedure in daily clinical practice. Moreover,since the publication of the CREST trial results, no study hasbeen published that focused specifically on CAS safetyoutcomes in Brazil. The aim of the present study is toevaluate and compare the clinical outcomes of symptomatic

Copyright 2015 CLINICS This is an Open Access article distributed underthe terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided theoriginal work is properly cited.

No potential conflict of interest was reported.

DOI: 10.6061/clinics/2015(03)05



and asymptomatic patients who had undergone CASperformed by the interventional neuroradiology team of ahigh-volume Brazilian tertiary university hospital.


Study design, clinical assessment and workflowThis is a single-center retrospective study. The study

protocol and written informed consent were approved bythe institutional review board, and all patients or their legalrepresentatives signed the consent forms. We retrospec-tively evaluated the clinical and radiological data of patientswho underwent CAS for atherosclerotic carotid stenosisfrom July 2010 to December 2012. Patients had undergoneCAS if they fulfilled the institutional eligibly criteria, whichare summarized in Table 1. Patients were divided into twogroups: the first group comprised patients presentingsymptomatic carotid stenosis, and the second groupcomprised patients presenting asymptomatic carotid steno-sis. Data on patients who had not undergone CAS and wereclinically managed were not collected.

All patients were examined by certified vascularneurologists in hospital at the 1-month and at the 12-month follow-ups. The neurologists measured the neuro-logical deficit and outcomes using validated Portugueseversions of the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale(NIHSS) and modified Rankin Scale (mRS) (6). The mRSscores were obtained at hospital admission, 1 month aftertreatment, and at the 12-month follow-up. A stroke wasdefined as an ischemic neurological deficit (NIHSS score $4) or aphasia that persisted for more than 24 hours, andTIA was defined as an ischemic neurological deficit(NIHSS score $ 4) or aphasia that persisted for less than24 hours. The patients who missed a follow-up werecontacted by telephone.

The primary endpoints were the incidences of ipsilateralischemic stroke, ipsilateral parenchymal hemorrhage (iPH)and major adverse cardiac and cerebrovascular events(MACCEs) at 30 days. MACCEs are defined as any stroke,symptomatic myocardial infarction, vascular complicationor death. The secondary endpoints included ipsilateralischemic stroke, iPH, ipsilateral TIA and MACCE occurringbetween the 1- and 12-month follow-ups.

Carotid artery stenting procedureAll procedures were performed by the interventional

neuroradiology team of our institutional stroke team, whichcomprises both training fellows and staff. The CASprocedure protocol was identical to the procedure that hasalready been published (7). We used cerebral embolicprotection devices whenever possible. The recommendedantiplatelet regimen was aspirin (300 mg daily) andclopidogrel (75 mg daily) at least five days before treatmentor aspirin (300 mg per attack) and clopidogrel (300 mg perattack) at least four hours before the procedure andcontinuing for three months afterward. Aspirin (300 mgdaily) was maintained indefinitely. When an anticoagulantwas indicated for secondary stroke prevention, only 300 mgdaily aspirin was recommended in combination with theanticoagulant drug; clopidogrel was not indicated. Allpatients were discharged 24 hours after treatment if nocontraindication occurred.

Statistical analysisThe continuous variables were presented as the mean

(range, SD) or median, and Students t test or the Mann-Whitney U test was used, as appropriate. The categoricalvariables were presented as numbers and percentages andcompared among groups using the Chi-square or Fishersexact tests, as appropriate. One independent blindedinvestigator processed all collected data for the statisticalanalysis. SPSS software version 20.0 (Chicago, IL, USA) wasused for the statistical analysis.


A total of 233 patients who had undergone CAS werescreened; 33 were excluded, and 200 were included. Amongthe excluded patients, 28 had undergone CAS duringmechanical thrombectomy for acute ischemic strokes, 2were treated for carotid stenosis related to radiotherapy, 1had undergone staged CAS open-heart surgery, and 2 werelost to follow-up and could not be contacted. Among the 200patients included, 127 were symptomatic, and 73 wereasymptomatic.

The baseline characteristics of the patients according togroup are summarized in Tables 2 and 3. All the CASprocedures were successful. Only two patients (1.0%), one

Table 1 - Eligibility criteria.

Inclusion criteria

Patient age $ 18 years

Life expectancy $ 1 year

Symptomatic ICA stenosis $ 50%*

Asymptomatic ICA stenosis $ 60%*

Symptoms were defined as ischemic stroke, transient ischemic attack, hypoperfusion or retinal ischemia

Exclusion criteria

Total occlusion of the target carotid artery

Patients who underwent CAS and mechanical thrombectomy for acute ischemic stroke

Carotid-related severe disabling ischemic stroke (mRS $ 5)

Severe chronic renal insufficiency under non-dialytic management (creatinine clearance # 40 ml/min)

Untreatable bleeding diathesis, hypercoagulable state or refusal of blood transfusion

Contraindication for antiplatelet therapy

Impending major surgery

*Based on the criteria defined by the American Heart Association Stroke Council and defined by the North American Symptomatic Carotid

Endarterectomy Trial (NASCET) (1,5).

Outcomes of carotid artery stentingCastro-Afonso LH et al.

CLINICS 2015;70(3):180-184


from each group, presented asymptomatic carotid restenosis(.70%) at the 6- and 12-month follow-ups that requiredretreatment. As the two groups were divided based on thesymptomatic status of the patients, a few baseline variables,carotid related stroke, TIA and mRS, were significantlydifferent between the groups, as expected. The asympto-matic group did not present any carotid-related stroke orTIA, and the mRS grade of this group was significantlylower than that of the symptomatic group (Table 2). Theother baseline variables that varied significantly betweenthe two groups were the prevalence rates of coronary heartdisease, contralateral carotid occlusion, and previousunrelated stroke. Compared with the symptomatic group,the asymptomatic group had higher prevalence rates ofcoronary heart disease (35.6% vs. 16.5%, p = 0.003), previousunrelated stroke (57.5% vs. 24.4%, p,0.001), and contral-ateral carotid occlusion (23.3% vs. 7.9%, p = 0.004). A flow-reversal protection device was used in 12 patients of thesymptomatic group, which was was significantly higherthan that in the asymptomatic group (0 patients, p = 0.004).

All 200 patients were included in the primary analysis.The overall incidence of ipsilateral stroke was 3.0% (6/200),and the overall rate of MACCE was 4.0% (8/200) at the 30-day follow-up (Table 4). The incidence of the primaryendpoints did not differ significantly between the twogroups (Table 4). The incidences of ipsilateral ischemic stroke,

iPH and MACCE for the symptomatic vs. asymptomaticgroups were 2.4% vs. 2.7% (p = 1.000), 0.8% vs. 0.0%(p = 1.000), and 4.7% vs. 2.7% (p = 0.713), respectively.

Among the 4 strokes observed in the symptomatic group,3 were ipsilateral ischemic strokes, and 1 was iPH. The firstipsilateral stroke occurred immediately after the procedure,causing significant functional disability (mRS = 4) at the 12-month follow-up. The second ischemic stroke occurred6 hours after the procedure, causing moderate patientdisability at the 12-month follow-up (mRS = 3). The thirdischemic stroke occurred after carotid angioplasty and wascaused by an occlusion of the M1 segment of the ipsilateralmiddle cerebral artery; the patient presented a moderateneurological deficit (mRS = 3) at the 12-month follow-up.The iPH occurred 2 days after the procedure, and thepatient died 10 months later from pneumonia.

The 2 deaths observed in the symptomatic group werecaused by hospital-acquired pneumonia and acute myelo-dysplastic syndrome. Both of these deaths were unrelated tocardiovascular complications or to the CAS procedures.

The incidence of clinical secondary outcomes did notsignificantly differ between the two groups (Table 4).During the period between the 1- and 12-month follow-up, no ipsilateral ischemic stroke, iPH or ipsilateral TIAwere observed. One patient of the symptomatic group had acerebellar hemorrhage requiring surgical intervention 7

Table 2 - Patients baseline clinical data in each group.

Total (N = 200) Symptomatic group (N = 127) Asymptomatic group (N = 73) p value

Male (n, %) 126 (63) 84 (66.1) 42 (57.5) 0.229

Age (mean, range, SD) 68.5 (35-88, SD: 8.82) 68.1 (35-88, SD: 9.42) 69.3 (42-84, SD: 7.67) 0.31

70 years or older (n, %) 89 (44.5) 53 (41.7) 36 (49.3) 0.306

80 years or older (n, %) 25 (12.5) 17 (13.4) 8 (11) 0.664

Carotid-related stroke (n, %) 102 (51) 102 (80.3) 0 (0) ,0.001

Transient ischemic attack (n, %) 20 (10) 20 (15.7) 0 (0) ,0.001

Retinal infarction (n, %) 5 (2.5) 5 (3.9) 0 (0) 0.161

Previous unrelated stroke (n, %) 73 (36.5) 31 (24.4) 42 (57.5) ,0.001

Coronary heart disease (n, %) 47 (23.5) 21 (16.5) 26 (35.6) 0.003

Congestive heart failure (n, %) 22 (11) 15 (11.8) 7 (9.6) 0.815

Atrial fibrillation (n, %) 10 (5) 6 (4.7) 4 (5.5) 1.000

Peripheral artery disease (n, %) 25 (12.5) 15 (11.8) 10 (13.7) 0.825

Chronic renal insufficiency

(Creatinine clearance # 60 ml/min)

39 (19.5) 24 (18.9) 15 (20.5) 0.853

Chronic obstructive pulmonary

disease (n, %)

15 (7.5) 9 (7.1) 6 (8.2) 0.785

Tobacco smokers (n, %) 119 (59.5) 78 (61.4) 41 (56.1) 0.550

High blood pressure (n, %) 185 (92.5) 117 (92.1) 68 (93.2) 1.000

Hypercholesterolemia (n, %) 148 (74) 94 (74) 54 (74) 1.000

Diabetes mellitus (n, %) 76 (38) 47 (37) 29 (39.7) 0.763

Baseline mRS (mean, SD) 1.7 (0-4, SD: 1.31) 1.9 (0-4, SD: 1.25) 1.3 (0-4, SD: 1.36) 0.009

Table 3 - Patients baseline radiologic and procedural data in each group.

Total (N = 200) Symptomatic group (N = 127)

Asymptomatic group

(N = 73) p value

CAS procedure successfully accomplished (n, %) 200 (100) 127 (100) 73 (100) -

Left carotid stenosis (n, %) 98 (49) 61 (48) 37 (50.7) 0.770

Carotid stenosis grade (mean, range, SD,


74.5 (50-95, SD: 14.7) 75.5 (50-95, SD: 16.3) 72.8 (60-95, SD: 11.44) 0.118

Contralateral carotid occlusion (n, %) 27 (13.5) 10 (7.9) 17 (23.3) 0...


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