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Age, race are among factors that influence carotid-surgery success
Date:11/5/2008

DALLAS Nov. 6, 2008 Advanced age and race are among the factors that can affect whether a patient dies or suffers a stroke after carotid-artery surgery, a UT Southwestern physician involved in a multicenter study has found.

"This study identified 11 readily available, clinical risk factors that can help referring physicians, neurologists, surgeons and anesthesiologists better weigh the risks and benefits of carotid surgery for an individual patient," said Dr. Ethan Halm, new chief of the William T. and Gay F. Solomon Division of General Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern and the study's lead author. "You don't want to cause a stroke to prevent a stroke."

The new findings appear in the current online version of the journal Stroke.

Dr. Halm and colleagues used data from the New York Carotid Artery Surgery (NYCAS) study, which evaluated the outcomes of 9,308 carotid surgeries performed on elderly patients by 482 surgeons in 167 hospitals in New York state. It is the largest study of its kind to use clinically detailed data on a population-based study of carotid-surgery outcomes and risk factors in community practice. Dr. Halm recently left Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York to lead UT Southwestern's general internal medicine division.

Carotid-artery surgery, one of the most common types of vascular surgeries performed in the U.S., involves opening the carotid artery in the neck and removing harmful plaque to restore blood flow to the brain. Although previous controlled trials have shown carotid surgery reduces the long-term risk of death or stroke in some patients, there is a chance the procedure could cause death or stroke.

The NYCAS study found that the overall risk of death or stroke in the first 30 days after surgery varied greatly according to a patient's age, race, number of serious medical conditions, severity of carotid disease and acuity of neurological symptoms.

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Contact: Erin Prather Stafford
erin.pratherstafford@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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