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Age is a factor in choosing between two comparable stroke-prevention procedures
Date:5/28/2010

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. A published report provides the final details on how two stroke-prevention procedures are safe and equally beneficial for men and women at risk for stroke, though their effectiveness does vary by age, say researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Public Health in collaboration with other North American stroke investigators.

In findings reported online in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) May 26, the researchers say the age of patients made a difference in comparing the two prevention procedures, and physicians should consider this and many other factors when tailoring their treatment plans for patients at risk for stroke.

The study is part of the Carotid Revascularization Endarterectomy vs. Stenting Trial (CREST). It was presented in summary form at the International Stroke Conference in San Antonio, Texas, Feb. 26.

Stroke, the third-leading cause of death in the nation, is caused by an interruption in blood flow to the brain by a clot or bleeding. The carotid arteries on each side of the neck are the major source of blood flow to the brain. The buildup of cholesterol in the wall of the carotid artery, called atherosclerotic plaque, is one cause of stroke.

CREST compares endarteroctomy, a surgical procedure to clear blocked blood flow and prevent stroke, with carotid stenting, a newer procedure that involves threading a stent and expanding a small protective device in the artery to widen the blocked area and capture dislodged plaque.

The overall safety and efficacy of the two procedures essentially is the same with equal benefits for men and women, for patients who previously have had a stroke and for those who have not, researchers say. The most notable finding in the NEJM study is the role of patient age in accounting for differences in treatment outcomes, says George Howard, Dr.PH., chair of biostatistics in UAB's School of Public Health and a CREST c
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Contact: Troy Goodman
tdgoodman@uab.edu
205-934-8938
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Source:Eurekalert

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