BIRMINGHAM, Ala. Two stroke-prevention procedures are safe and equally beneficial for men and women at risk for stroke, but the effectiveness does vary by age, say researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in collaboration with other North American stroke investigators.
In findings reported Feb. 26 at the International Stroke Conference in San Antonio, Texas, the researchers say physicians now have better information when tailoring their treatment plans for patients at risk for stroke. The study is called the Carotid Revascularization Endarterectomy vs. Stenting Trial (CREST).
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 had not, researchers say. The most notable finding was the role of patient age in accounting for differences in comparing the two prevention procedures, says George Howard, Dr.PH., chair of biostatistics in UAB's School of Public Health and a CREST co-investigator.
"The fascinating finding is that in young people, say age 69 and younger, the stenting is better than the surgery. The younger the patient, the better stenting works," Howard says. "In contrast, in older people, defined as greater than age 70, the surgery is bette
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University of Alabama at Birmingham